Order signed for acquisition of land
Guyana Chronicle
October 7, 2001

PRIME Minister Sam Hinds has signed an order under which the plot of land on Water Street will be declared a “public work”, thus allowing the Government to take control and develop it for use as the relocation site for vendors.

The new development, announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo at a news conference held on Friday in the Credentials Room of the Office of the President, follows the return of Attorney General Doodnauth Singh whose absence as a result of illness had resulted in the acquisition of the land being delayed.

The initial plan of the Government was to have acquired the land and have it developed in time for a September 1 relocation. But Government and the owners of the land, Toolsie Persaud Limited (TPL), were unable to reach an amicable agreement.

“We’re set on track,” the President said, and explained the process that will follow.

According to him, the order will be gazetted this week, following the signing of document which will authorise surveyors to survey the land. Once a plan is completed, it would “all be declared a public work.”

The issue will next be taken to Parliament for the National Assembly to vote for the resources to pay TPL compensation for the land. Another order will then be signed to conclude the process.

Government’s move to acquire the land was made possible through the amended Acquisition of Lands for Public Purposes Act 2001, approved in the National Assembly on August 16 last.

The amended Act paved the way for Government to lawfully acquire land for public works whether or not there is any building or erection on the land.

The passage of the piece of legislation did not have the support of the main Opposition People’s National Congress REFORM (PNC/R), which criticised the move to acquire the TPL plot and subsequently boycotted the sitting.

The lone Opposition Member who was present in the House, Ms Shirley Melville of the Guyana Action Party/Working People’s Alliance (GAP/WPA) had cautioned against the possible implications of the amended bill saying it could be perceived as setting precedence for political decisions.