Certificate of Comfort Distribution Ceremony Government Campus Plaza Auditorium 3-4 Richmond Street, Port of Spain
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, MP
Minister of Housing and Urban Development
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
● The Mayor of Port-of-Spain, His Worship, Alderman Joel Martinez
● The Honourable Adrian Leonce, Minister in the Ministry of Housing
and Urban Development
● The Honourable Brian Manning, Minister in the Ministry of Finance
and Member of Parliament for San Fernando East
● Ms. Vandana Mohit, Member of Parliament for Chaguanas East
● Ms. Nirmala Ramlogan, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Housing and Urban Development
● Mr. Wayne Inniss, Chairman of the Land Settlement Agency, and
other members of the board of directors of the Land Settlement
● Mr. Hazar Hosein, CEO of the Land Settlement Agency
● Ms. Bhanmatie Seecharan, Commissioner of State Lands (Ag.)
Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries
● Heads of Division and staff of the Ministry of Housing and Urban
Development and of the Land Settlement Agency.
● Distinguished guests
● Members of the media
● Ladies and Gentlemen
Ladies and gentlemen, it is an absolute privilege and joy for me to be here
with you today, as we engage in yet another tangible demonstration of this
Government’s ability and willingness to keep the promises made to
citizens. It is the same joy I felt only a few days ago when we were able
to distribute 12 starter homes to residents in Jacob’s Hill, Wallerfield, and
keys to completed homes at Heron Court in Malabar, all in the space of a
Ladies and gentlemen, notwithstanding the noise, the continued
enhancement of the living conditions and welfare of its citizens is a
responsibility this Government takes very seriously, and one which this
Ministry and its agencies will pursue relentlessly, so as to ensure that no
citizen is left behind. Today’s distribution of 75 Certificates of Comfort
to eligible recipients, though long in coming, is a welcome addition then,
to the hundreds of citizens who, during 2022 alone, have benefitted from
the services of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and the
Land Settlement Agency (LSA) in particular.
In that vein therefore, allow me to extend my sincerest thanks to the
Board, Management and staff of the LSA who, over the last few months,
have delivered completely developed lots of land, have delivered starter houses, and today, are delivering Certificate of Comfort, the full gamut of
services, so to speak, offered by this state agency.
Today, in the face of searing criticism of the public service by many, I
wish to hold up the LSA as a model state agency, funded by tax payers,
staffed by civil servants, and delivering steadfastly on its mandate to
improve the housing and living conditions of citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 75 Certificates of Comfort being distributed
today, admittedly, come at the end of a very long and, especially for the
recipients, tedious journey. I am aware that there has been a lot of back
and forth and many of you would have applied for your Certificate of
comfort more than 20 years ago. Great has been your patience and great
will be your reward.
It is for this reason that the Government is moving apace with its
digitalization agenda, beginning with some small but not insignificant
strides in the Town and Country Division of the Ministry of Planning and
Development. Today, all the agencies responsible for granting permission
for land and housing development are linked digitally thereby reducing
the inordinately long waiting time for permissions to be granted.
Additionally, because these records and applications are now online,
applicants can track the progress of their applications without having to
suffer the repeated inconvenience of previous years, of having to physically visit these offices, only to be told, the application had not yet
My dear friends, the Certificates of Comfort you will receive today, place
in your hands, the beginning of intergenerational wealth. This COC
entitles holders to a Statutory Lease for a term of thirty (30) years, and is
now an instrument which can not only be used to as collateral in securing
funding from our financial institutions, but more importantly, can be
passed down from generation to generation. There is no one here that can
deny the wealth and value that comes with the ownership of land, and that
is what your Government is about; investing in the people of Trinidad and
Tobago, ensuring that every citizen benefits in one way or another, and
that the quality of every citizen’s life is enhanced by the decisions we
Today, 75 more families will benefit from the distribution of COC, joining
more than 8,300 other families who would have received this benefit since
the law was enacted. We therefore have the data and evidence that prove
that we are solving this problem, just as we said we would.
The Certificate of Comfort you will each receive today brings with it
tremendous benefits to you and your families. These Certificates give you:
● Protection from being ejected from State Lands;
● The ability to access basic utilities and government assistance for
home improvements – including from my Ministry;
● The ability to obtain a secure title through the issuance of a Deed of
Lease once you do not own or occupy any other dwelling house,
residential land, or agricultural land upon which a residential
structure can be erected.
● As recipients of Certificates of Comfort, you are entitled to a
Statutory Lease for a term of thirty (30) years. I hasten to add that
the Statutory Lease also functions as a financial instrument that
gives you a period of thirty (30) years to pay for the land interestfree.
Once you have completed paying for the land which you are
now going to occupy, you then become entitled to a Deed of Lease
for a term of one hundred and ninety-nine (199) years. That is the
same length of lease time offered to potential home owners buying
property through regular channels, including the private sector.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is an extremely important step you are taking
today in your journey to home ownership. It is a journey that allows you
not only security of tenure for the space you now occupy, but also the
ability to utilize the property as a form of savings and wealth for you, your
children and the generations to come.
The seventy-five (75) families who will receive Certificates of Comfort
today have been drawn from all across the country because, as
Government has reiterated in our Roadmap to Recovery and as part of our
Vision 2030, no one will be left behind, regardless of race, creed, class or
Today, these 75 families have come from lands located in Arima,
Barataria, Barrackpore, Belmont, Brasso, California, Chaguanas, Claxton
Bay, Cocorite, Couva, Cunupia, Diego Martin, Gasparillo, Guayaguayare,
Laventille, Marabella, Moruga, Morvant, Penal, Rio Claro, San Fernando,
San Juan, St. Augustine, St. Joseph, Ste. Madeleine, Warrenville,
Williamsville, and Port of Spain.
Given the vast geographical spread of these lands, this Government is
again calling out the blatant untruths of those opposed to us for whom the
phrase “geographical discrimination” has now become a mantra. Ladies
and gentlemen, I can say without fear of contradiction, that under the
leadership of the Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, this
Government is ensuring that all citizens who qualify for state-sponsored
assistance in any form, irrespective of who they are, where they live, or for whom they vote, will receive the assistance required, to the extent that
Government is able to provide.
Ladies and gentlemen, for many, this is just another Wednesday, but for
you and for us at the Ministry of Housing and Development, and for our
Land Settlement Agency, this is a tremendously great day!
Today is a great day because you will leave here with, not just a piece of
paper, not just a Certificate of Comfort. You will leave here with
something more, something priceless: peace of mind, and that will impact
every aspect of your life.
Today will change the entire conversation you and your children will have
about where you live and how you live. It will change your conversations
when you go to the banks or credit unions. It will change the conversations
your children will have at school. I also pray that it will change the
conversation about your own role in national development. Let it also
motivate you to redouble your efforts to make Trinidad and Tobago better
When this Government came into office in 2015, we vowed to reverse the
many ills of our society, but more importantly, we pledged to take care of
everyone, especially the most vulnerable in society. That is what we are doing here today: keeping that promise; and together, I know we can and
we will make even more progress.
As a Government we remain fearlessly committed to both continuing this
journey of national development, and ensuring that no citizen is left
behind. It is for this reason that we have increased the allocation to
Regularization of Squatter Communities from nine point five million
($9,500,000) to twenty million ($20,000,000) dollars in this new fiscal
Ladies and gentlemen, that means many more eligible citizens will share
in the joy you feel today, as they too receive their Certificates of Comfort
in the not too distant future. That is the task to which we are committed at
the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, working in close
collaboration with the Land Settlement Agency. We will continue to do
the work on the ground, to listen to the cries of our people, and be
proactive in our response to those concerns. I give you the assurance that
we understand that this is not just about budgets and finances. We know
and accept that this is about people, our people, and as we go forward, we
will redouble our efforts to ensure that as many persons as possible
benefit, tangibly, from the assistance provided by the state.
Let me end by congratulating you, and thanking you for your commitment
to the process, and for above all, for your patience. From here on, I can
assure you that once we all do our part, it will only get better.
Thank you, and may the abundance of God’s blessings continue to reign
upon you, your families, and our nation.