STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE MELVIN M. TURNBULL
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND LABOUR
SEVENTH SITTING OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
18TH OCTOBER, 2022
ANEGADA ADVISORY LANDS COMMITTEE
Madame Speaker, lands have always been central to the economic and social development of the Virgin Islands. Ownership of our land has enabled greater prosperity and opportunities for homeownership, commercial development and recreation to name a few. Government has over the decades, fostered a land distribution programme that makes lands affordable to Belongers and Virgin Islanders. While the Commission of Inquiry has highlighted various factors that need reform, I rise today to highlight the work and the efforts of the Anegada Advisory Lands Committee, who have steadfastly assisted their community and the Ministry with the vetting of over a hundred applications. Those applications range in use for residential and commercial purposes and will address long-standing issues related to ancestral lands. The Ministry has worked very closely with the Committee to ensure that the due diligence is performed on all applicants and that the process meets the scrutiny required of us.
Madame Speaker, this Government met with the Anegada community on Sunday, October 2nd at the Emile Dunlop Community Centre for public consultation on COI recommendations, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour held consultation with them regarding the application process. I want to express my gratitude to the members of the Anegada Advisory Lands Committee for the work that they have done to prepare more than 100 applications for consideration by Government:
Chairman - Darrell Ruan Jr
Vice Chairman - Gregory Levons Sr.
Secretary - Philomena Jno Marie
Vice Secretary Chekada O'Neal
Treasurer - Michael Vanterpool
Vice Treasurer - Wilford Faulkner
Committee Members - Sylvia Faulkner & Rondel Smith
The statistics of the applications submitted were as follows: [please see the attachment – Attachment to Statement by Minister for Natural Resources and Labour on the Anegada Advisory Lands Committee.]
I also thank the members of the community for the positive feedback we received from them on Sunday in response to the strides we are making. Madame Speaker, while I know that we are operating under the conditions imposed under the Implementation Framework for the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry where land applications are to be vetted by the Governor prior to disposal, we remain committed to ensure that the aspirations of land ownership and economic development for the people of Anegada are met over time.