Minister Dillon presents statutory lease, deeds of lease and Certificates of Comfort to eligible applicants under the Squatter Regularisation Programme
Housing Minister, the Honourable Major General (Retired) Edmund Dillon officiated at the distribution ceremony held on February 11, 2020 at Naparima Bowl in San Fernando. Over a hundred beneficiaries were in attendance to receive their Certificates of Comfort including a few who were there to receive their Statutory Leases and Deeds of Lease.
Minister Dillon, reminded those present at the Ceremony that these occasions highlight this Administration’s commitment to securing land tenure for the most vulnerable in the society. The Minister further stated that the issuance of these instruments is in keeping with government policy to provide title for qualifying persons. However, this should not be viewed as a sign to encourage persons to squat, because squatting is still illegal in this country.
Since assuming office in 2015 this administration, under the State Land (Regularisation of Tenure) Act 25 of 1998, has issued seven hundred (700) Certificates of Comfort and one hundred and forty-two (142) Statutory Leases.
The granting of a CoC marks the first step in the process towards regularization of tenure under the Squatter Regularization Programme. Persons were reminded that the CoC is not a Deed and as such cannot be sold, assigned or transferred to anyone else; nor is it a license to grab more land by extending the existing boundaries.
The CoC holder is eligible to advance to the next step once they have satisfied all the requirements set out under the State Land (Regularisation of Tenure) Act 25 of 1998. The next stage is the issuance of a Statutory Lease which gives an interest in the land, thus providing the holder with a maximum of thirty (30) years to pay off for the occupied lands which is sold at twenty-five percent (25%) its market value.
Once the CoC holder has made full payment of the occupied lands under the Statutory Lease arrangement, they will then be awarded a marketable Deed of Lease, which is the final step in the regularization process. The assigned Deed of Lease which is for a period of 199 years conveys ownership of the land to eligible squatters and all the benefits of land ownership under the Constitution such as land tenure, legitimate home ownership and the creation of generational wealth.
Minister Edmund Dillon reiterated that every policy, programme and initiative of the Ministry is designed with people in mind, because the ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for all citizens.