Man waits over 30 years to be compensated for land

Monday, 13th October 2014 by Bvinews.com

Man waits over 30 years to be compensated for land seized by govt

After losing a plot of his land to the government for road construction, a BVIslander had to wait over three decades before he finally received compensation.

His struggle to be reimbursed for the land was brought to the attention of the Elton Georges-led Complaints Commission in 2012.

According to the Commission’s latest report, which was recently tabled in the House of Assembly, the man’s property was seized in 1981 by the government, through the Public Works Department.

The land was seized for road construction without the necessary permission, added the Complaints Commission.

“He (the property owner) had received no acknowledgement of his claim over the 30 years and, although the previous Minister of Land had assured him after site visits of a plot of land in exchange for the land taken, he had received nothing in writing and no exchanged hand happened.”

The Complaints Commission further noted that it was outside its purview to decide whether the BVIslander had a claim in law for the property taken.

What it did was to focus on getting the relevant ministry to at least inform the BVIslander in writing about the government’s position.

After much effort, in 2013, the BVIslander finally had reasons to celebrate.

“It took a lot of time, but finally in 2013 the Ministry of Natural Resources went further. It offered and [the BVIslander] accepted a plot of Crown land in full settlement of the outstanding matter,” said the Complaints Commission.

It further stated that the ministry offered a brief apology for the ‘tardiness’ in its response to the landowner.

The Complaints Commission, following its investigation, said the government infringed on several standards in relation to how the matter was handled.

They are, failure to be customer-focused specifically as it relates to reasonable and prompt response, failure to follow up on commitments, and failure to keep proper and appropriate records.