A “glitch with a surveyor” employed under government’s Gaboo Lands development initiative has caused a delay in the project.
That’s according to Minister of Housing, Physical Development and Urban Renewal Stanley Felix, who said that by next month, things should be in order so that residents can be offered their own lots of land.
Last November, the Ministry indicated that it would undertake the rationalisation of a parcel of land at Gaboo Lands, Morne Du Don in order to provide an opportunity for a number of squatters to own lots of land that their dwelling houses have sat on for years.
The four-acre parcel of land, based on the objective of the project, was due to be surveyed and offered to residents for sale at prices not solely based on the value of the land, but the squatters’ socio-economic standing.
Speaking to St. Lucia News Online (SNO) on Friday (July 11), Felix said while the completion date of that initiative was between December 2013-January 2014, surveys are only now being completed.
The minister explained that this is because the surveyor, who was required to survey and submit plans to the Division of Planning, “somewhat gave us a six for a nine” stating that this was done with them, “when in fact he was not.”
“And so we did the survey all over again. That’s what kept us back,” the minister said.
The Gaboo Lands had been acquired by the Labour Party government while in office between 1997 and 2006. According to Felix, he decided to continue the project when he saw that nothing was being done with the parcel of land.
Last year, while addressing residents, Felix had told residents: “I am looking at getting this land to you at a price that every single person here can afford. Nothing that is going to break your back because the important thing for us is that you become land owners, and we recognise that you have been living there for so long and we must take cognisance of the fact that if given the opportunity back then you would have been paying much less than the value of the land now.”
The Gaboo Lands parcel comprises 34 existing houses. Infrastructural work is expected to be undertaken in the area in phases.