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PROUD Prepares to Offer More St. Lucians Title Deeds

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Monday, October 21, 2002 - Residents of the communities of Resinard and Pays Perdu in Babonneau were on hand Thursday, October 17, 2002 as officials from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Development undertook a ground breaking ceremony signalling the construction of roads and drains and the installation of pipe borne water and electricity under phases one and two of the latest project initiated by the Programme for the Rationalization of Unplanned Development (PROUD).

Ministry personnel indicated that the establishment of these amenities would serve as a further encouragement to getting residents to pay for the land. Under the programme households in the area are being given the opportunity to own the land which they currently occupy. Parliamentary Representative for the area Honourable Felix Finnisterre has urged residents to take advantage of what he called “a once in a life time offer.” The scourge of squatter settlements he pointed out was not unique to the city of Castries but was affecting rural communities as well. The latest initiative of the PROUD project he explained was also a bold statement in support of poverty elevation.

“Poverty is not only the absence of money, it is also the absence of basic amenities, electricity for your children to study at nights, roads so that you can walk properly instead of having to traverse over muddy tracks. This Government has long recognized that people need secure, clean and healthy surroundings, hence the establishment of a shelter development project under which PROUD falls. Today it is congratulations as this phase of the programme is the most visible example of the programmes success to date,” said Finnisterre. The PROUD project, which began in April of 2000 continues to expand its reach. The unit is preparing a rationalization plan for areas in Vieux Fort with boundary surveys scheduled to begin in November 2002 for the areas of La Croix/Laborie, Piaye Village, Sarrot and Bexon. The sale of land to residents at heavily subsidised prices has commenced in Desbarras, Pays Perdu, La Ressource and Ravine Poisson.

Minister for Physical Development Honourable Ignatius Jean explained that while other world governments were reducing funding in human settlements, the present administration has seen the need to create organized, planned and sustained human development. According to him, “at every level of society without exception, persons must be provided with a level of existence which can be a catapult to further self-growth and development.”

Over the life of the PROUD initiative, Government would have spent well over six million dollars in twelve communities across the country. Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony has praised the concept, describing it as yet another attempt at empowering St. Lucians. “We look forward to you the people of this community embracing the efforts of the government and seeking to gain titles to the lands you occupy. When you have your land papers, do not let people fool you and cause them to get you to sell your land to them for nothing. You should hold on to your land because when you have it, you have security for the future and for your families.”

The Resinard/Paye Perdu project, costing over half a million dollars falls squarely in line with PROUD’s mandate to regularise unplanned settlements while transferring land titles to occupants.


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