Indigenous Affairs Ministry eyeing five-year extension to Amerindian Land Titling Project.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs is seeking a second extension to the Amerindian Land Titling Project which will come to an end next month (December 31, 2018).

Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock says the extra time will ensure communities that were not demarcated and subsequently titled, would be given an opportunity to be the legal owners of their traditional lands.

“Meetings continue, with the hope that we can have that extension with no additional cost to the programme. We hope that with support, we will be able to convince, with our justification for the extension but for how many years we won’t be able to say. We would love to have a five-year extension because it is very crucial for doing the work, for realising of land titling to our Indigenous communities”, Minister Allicock assured.

The Minister said demarcation is critical to development and for further improvements planned for the indigenous communities.

“This will be something that will help us to make it easier for our people to have their Village Improvement Plans in place. We intend to have better technology that will allow our communities to address land management because we need to look at where we have areas that could remain in its pristine states, if we can have that, that will be a big plus for us”.

Addressing some of the challenges faced, Minister Allicock said “we have learnt from it, and it was almost impossible for us to complete sixty-eight communities (their demarcation) within three years because of the topography of the areas and different landscapes some are easier than some. We have seen the mistakes that could be made if you try to rush. Those are the reality of life and we also have to continue talking to the people, educate one another and hopefully we will be able to proceed in a better way.”

The Amerindian Land Titling Project which commenced in 2013 sought to enable the Indigenous peoples secure their lands and natural resources with a view towards sustainable social and economic development.

It is expected that titling and demarcation will strengthen land tenure security and the expansion of the asset base of Indigenous people, thus enabling improved long-term planning for their future development.

Sixty-eight Indigenous villages were targeted (land titling/demarcation and extensions) across the hinterland with twenty demarcations and eighteen titles completed in villages to date.

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