The Harbour Island Commonage Committee is hoping to change commonage rules so that it can properly do business with the government as it relates to the redevelopment of the North Eleuthera airport, which sits on commonage land.
Attorney for the committee Richette Percentie told Guardian Business yesterday that the committee is not trying to have changes made to the Commonage Act, but have the rules of the Harbour Island Commonage legally amended through the attorney general’s office so that, moving forward, doing business with the government as it uses commonage land in North Eleuthera will become easier.
“They are trying to change the rules of the Harbour Island Commonage,” said Percentie.
“The committee is eager to continue its efforts to negotiate whatever agreement with Cabinet, to enable them to do whatever else is best to make that happen.”
Percentie explained that there is a Catch-22: in order for government to move forward with closing negotiations for the land on which the North Eleuthera Airport sits, its new rules will have to be ratified by the government. She explained that Harbour Island Commoners have been trying to work with governments on this since 2014. Despite this, she explained that negotiations have been going well.
“When we had our discussions we all left the meeting satisfied that the government was ready, willing and able to negotiate satisfactory terms,” Percentie said.
“The committee is not seeking to be overcompensated or asking for ridiculous terms. It is in the government’s hands to assist the committee. They can’t enter into an agreement until the rules are put into effect.”
According to Percentie, the Harbour Island Commonage Committee has been working hard to have its rules changed and legitimized so that the government can get the North Eleuthera Airport done.
The committee is hoping to have its rules legitimize the use of commonage land for commercial endeavors. The language in the Commonage Act suggests that the land can only be used for cultivation and that no one other than a commoner can use the land for such purposes.