Lands and Surveys Commission to develop code of Ethics for Surveyors -moves to improve relationships with regional administration in Region Six

Georgetown, Guyana — (February 28, 2018Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Mr. Trevor Benn announced that the Commission is currently in the process of developing a Code of Ethics that will be used to guide and police the work of Land Surveyors across Guyana. Mr. Benn made this announcement during a community meeting, held on February 26th, in Corriverton as part of a three-day outreach, from February 25-27, to East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six).

Commissioner Trevor Benn and Regional Chairman of Region Six, Mr. David Armogan pose with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Region Six Outreach team.

This code of ethics, Mr. Benn said, is being drafted into a Bill and tabled in the National Assembly. “People have been complaining about the way work has been done with surveying. So, we’re working on a Bill that we hope to take to Cabinet and then to Parliament in relation to the work of surveyors; a new code of ethics that will govern the profession. At the moment, we don’t have any and so surveyors go out there and work without any real sanction for bad behaviour… We’re putting this Bill in place to make sure that there is something we can go by and we don’t treat in an ad hoc manner the sanctioning of surveyors,” he said.

The Commission has held one consultation with surveyors in Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four) and will continue consultations in all other Administrative Regions of Guyana. The consultation process is set to be completed at the end of May with the ultimate goal of completing the daft Bill and presenting it to Cabinet in June 2018.  Mr. Benn said that the outreach was planned in response to an increasing number of land inquiries and complaints coming from Region Six.

Accompanied with a 10-person team from the Georgetown GLSC office, the Commissioner was able to listen to the issues of over 60 residents from Kildonan, Fyrish, Springlands, Corriverton, New Amsterdam, and their surrounding villages. “At the Lands and Surveys Commission we take very seriously the work that we do and in order for us to be able to understand the issues affecting our work on a daily basis we have organised ourselves to do several outreaches across the country… We do these outreaches primarily because often the true picture of [what is] happening on the ground is unknown from the office. So, we come out with the staff to sit and air the views from the people themselves who live in the issues on a daily basis and who understand [them] better than we do… We can, together with them, find resolutions on the many issues,” the Lands Commissioner said during an interview at Dave’s Reception Hall, Chapel Street, New Amsterdam.

With the hope of healing Commission-Municipal relations that may have been strained in the past, Mr. Benn made courtesy calls Mayor of New Amsterdam, Ms. Winifred Haywood and Regional Chairman of Region Six, Mr. David Armogan. “We intend to do this wherever we do outreaches; to meet with the local authorities… to let them understand what… we are about, to let them understand the do’s and don’ts, and to let them understand how we can support them and vice versa… In the past, a lot of decisions were [made] without the involvement of these stakeholders… We believe [that] it was wrong, which is why I apologised to the Mayor and Town Council this morning and promised that in the future we will do better,” he said.

Commissioner Trevor Benn and the Guyana Lands and Surveys Region Six outreach team paid a courtesy call to Mayor of New Amsterdam, Ms. Winifred Haywood to discuss land issues in New Amsterdam.

Mayor Haywood expressed her appreciation for the GLSC outreach and said that she is happy to work to improve New Amsterdam’s relationship with the Commission.

“We were rather fortunate to have the Lands and Surveys Commissioner and his team… We’re happy for all the information that was filtered to us and we will abide with all the principles and policies of the organisation so we can have a smooth running town in Region Six… Whatever would have [been] done wrong in the past, I also am willing to forgive so that we can work together cooperatively,” she said.

Similar sentiments were shared by Regional Chairman Armogan. “I am very happy that the Commissioner and his team [have] found the time to come to this Region to discuss some matters relating to lands because this Region has been plagued for many years now with land issues… We still have a lot of issues on the ground that [need] to be ironed out… I’m sure [The Commissioner and his team] have been able to deal with some of these problems and resolve some of these long-standing issues… Once we can work together I’m sure that a lot of these issues can be resolved,” he said.

The GLSC’s presence was not unnoticed by residents, who thanked the Commissioner and his team for their willingness to help resolve their land issues. “We really appreciate you and we’re encouraged by your kind words and we know that you are committed to having this situation resolved… We’re happy for the efforts that have been done on the ground so far… and you have a very hardworking team here.],” Nurney Resident, Mr. Michael Patterson said.

As a result of the meetings, Commissioner Benn and a team from the Georgetown GLSC office will return to Berbice on March 10, 2018 to help conduct an occupational survey with the hope of solving land disputes in Kildonan. The Commissioner also met with GLSC branch offices in New Amsterdam and Corriverton and hosted a staff dinner in appreciation of their hard work.

Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commision (GLSC), Mr. Trevor Benn (center), flanked by members of the GLSC outreach team, hear the concerns of Corriverton and Springlands residents during a Community meeting.

Commissioner Trevor Benn paid a courtesy call to Regional Chairman of Region Six, Mr David Armogan to discuss land issues within the Region.