By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government will stop selling crown cays for private purposes, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced during his mid-budget communication yesterday.
As minister responsible for land, the revelation came as he comprehensively addressed his administration’s land policy.
Among other things, he said the government “will preserve the seabed for the crown, approving only leases of it.”
He said the government will “retain for the crown a crown reserve between ocean/sea, front/inland lake property, granted for private development, where un-alientated crown land exists at the seashore, to preserve windows to the sea and open green and beach front spaces for the enjoyment of the public.”
He said the government will also “regularise long-term occupation of crown land developed or cultivated by individual Bahamians and/or families at concessionary rates” and “make crown land available to Bahamian nationals for residential, commercial and touristic development, particularly in the Family Islands.”
Dr Minnis said a new Land Reform Unit will be established to “examine, organise and monitor activities.”
He also said the government will seek to return land acquired that has not been used to claimants who the Office of the Attorney General determine has “clear and marketable titles”.
He said: “According to the records of the Land Unit at the commencement of the 2017/18 fiscal period, it was estimated that an excess of $6.7 million dollars was owed as a result of compulsory land acquisition for the purpose of road improvements for various corridors. The estimated figures were as a result of land acquired as far back as 2011. However, it should be noted that in an effort to ascertain a better scope of money, owed for land acquisitions nationwide, a further investigation of all records is necessary given the myriad matters pending. It is proposed that in view of the inordinate amount of time, elapsed from the date of some of the earliest compulsory acquisitions that, unused parcels acquired by the government, are returned to affected individuals.”