New Housing Minister, Pennelope Beckles officially cuts ribbon to open Brownfield Site, Bois Bande Settlement
On Wednesday September 16, the Honourable Pennelope Beckles, newly appointed Minister of Housing and Urban Development cut the ribbon to officially signal the
opening of Brownfield Site, Bois Bande, Sangre Grande.
This milestone event highlighted the upgraded works that will benefit some 150 households in Settlement B of the Brownfield Site. Residents can now enjoy infrastructural upgrades such as water reticulation, drainage, roads and installation of fire hydrants. Most importantly, with the completed infrastructural works at Settlement B, the Land Settlement Agency (LSA) of the Ministry can now ensure that all final statutory approvals are received for this site. Once these approvals are received, the LSA can now issue Statutory Leases and eventually Deeds of Lease to eligible Certificate of Comfort (COC) holders in occupation at this site.
Once the conditions of the CoC have been adhered to Statutory Leases will be offered at a premium of 25% its market value to be paid over a thirty-year period. Once the leases have been paid for, the State can then assign a Deed of Lease for a period of 199 years. Under the Tenancy Program, those who were on the lands before June 14 2014 and are not CoC holders, they will pay 40% of the market value.
This is in keeping with the government’s promise to improve the living conditions of families occupying designated areas on state lands prior to 1998.
The Brownfield section of the Bois Bande site consists of approximately 34 hectares with a population of some five hundred (500) squatter households which was further sub divided into three (3) settlements – A, B and C. Sub-settlement B is located north-east of Sub-settlement A, and is largely bounded by Pine Settlement to the east and south, the Long Stretch Forest Reserve to the north and existing homestead areas to the west.
The Minister speaking to the recipients said, “This represents a milestone achievement for the families as it signals the first step in the process towards security of land tenure and meaningful shelter, not to mention the creation of generational wealth which if managed well can last a lifetime.
Minister Beckles further stated that, “It is important to note that once you own the land you can use it as collateral to secure loans to improve your circumstances and be in a position to pass on this wealth asset to your children and grandchildren. The Minister ended by saying “The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and its agencies remain committed to improving the lives of low to lower middle-income families in a responsible and holistic manner.”
Also, in attendance were the Honourable Adrian Leonce, Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Member of Parliament for Toco/Sangre Grande, Roger Monroe, Ms. Simone Thorne-Mora, Permanent Secretary and Mr. Hazar Hosein, Chief Executive Officer of the Land Settlement Agency.
To date, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development through the LSA has been able to distribute seven hundred and thirty-nine (739) Certificates of Comfort, a hundred and eighty-two (182) Statutory Leases and thirty-five (35) Deeds of Lease.