Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 1, 2022 (SKNIS): Seventeen well-deserving residents of New Amsterdam Housing Development in St. Paul’s formally called Willet’s, were elated when they received their Blank Certificate of Title (COT) on Friday, July 29, 2022, making them official land owners of the properties they occupied over the years.
In or about 2008, the Government, through the Ministry of Sustainable Development, created a low to middle-income housing development at New Amsterdam in St. Paul’s. During the design stage of the development, it was noticed that several young men had squatted on government lands in the vicinity and it was decided that it would be best to regularize their occupancy by incorporating them into the subdivision, thus giving them the opportunity to legally own the lands at discounted rates.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Elreter Simpson-Browne laid out the terms and conditions under which the lands are distributed adding that the government is serious about ensuring that families own lands.
“You are getting the land at two (2) dollars per square foot and there is no stipulation of you having to pay a deposit in three (3) months. You get the three years to pay for the land but you get two years interest-free. So if you can pay that off in two years it means that you would not be paying any interest,” said PS Simpson-Browne. “The government is doing this to ensure that you get a piece of paper in your hand for the land that you have been occupying for how many years, something that you can pass onto future generations.”
PS Simpson-Browne added that this is a proud moment for the residents of New Amsterdam.
“I believe that this should be a good time for you, a joyous time and an appreciative time because a number of you have come into the ministry and inquired about water and electricity but couldn’t access any because you had nothing with your name on it to show. Today, that is over. When you get your documents, the COT that you will get shows your name and the survey documents on one side of it. That is the pathway and the start of you owing that property,” said the permanent secretary. “I am happy that you would be able to take that same document to the water and electricity departments. For some of you, you can take it to the bank as long as it includes the money that you will pay for it. Include that in the money for the house and you can start building right away.”
Just recently residents of La Guerite North Housing Development and Abbots Housing Development in West Farm went through a similar process of regularization. Residents of the areas were also presented with their blank COTs. PS Simpson-Browne said that the government will continue to ensure that all the squatter settlements around the island are regularized. The next area to be looked at will be Saddlers.