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Cabinet Appoints Task Force on Land Distribution in Mabouya Valley

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March 10, 2003 - The Cabinet of Ministers has agreed to the establishment of a Task Force for rationalization of land distribution in the Mabouya Valley.

            Cabinet earlier today considered a Memorandum submitted by the Office of the Prime Minister to establish the Task Force to undertake further measures aimed at solving and settling the problems that have arisen in the distribution of land in the valley, following illegal seizure and occupation of plots by unauthorised persons.

            According to its Terms of Reference, the Task Force, which will be broad-based, will, among other things, “review all available documents and reports, with a view to determining the extent of the Mabouya Valley Lands that were initially acquired and vested in the National Land Company.” It will also “use appropriate criteria to develop a suitable land use map that details the suitability of lands in the area for agricultural activities.”

            Cabinet has also agreed on the composition of the Task Force, which will be chaired by Mr Christopher Cox, Chief Agricultural Planning Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

            Other members will include Mr Leo Dusauzay, who is the Crown Lands Officer in the Ministry of Physical Development, Environment and Housing; Mr Gary Melville, a socio-economist at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College; and Ms Marcella Alfred-Hobson, the representative of the Mabouya Valley Development Committee.

            Allowance has also been made by Cabinet for other members of the Task Force to include representatives of the National Development Corporation (NDC), as well as of the Parliamentary Representatives of Dennery North and Dennery South. The farmers will also be represented.

According to its Terms of Reference, the Task Force will be required to “conduct a rapid appraisal of present land use and highlight where inappropriate land use has occurred” and it will also “determine the extent and nature of land sales, and the occupation and distribution of lands to persons and entities, including squatters, currently in possession of land from the initial block of estate lands.”

            The members of the Task Force will also be required to “determine the balance of land that is unallocated and available, and indicate the options for the sustainable utilisation of these lands.” They will also “determine the most appropriate institutional arrangement for the management of the programme for the rationalisation of housing settlements.” The Task Force is also required to “determine the most appropriate institutional arrangement for the management of the programme for the rationalization of housing settlements.”

            Members of the Task Force will be required to “prepare a comprehensive report on these findings for submission to Cabinet within a three month period.”

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