Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis criticised Bahamians that have hoarded thousands of acres of Crown land yesterday, calling those who have been granted that amount of acreage “greedy”.
Minnis, who made the remarks during his mid-year budget speech, said as he reviewed land files over the weekend, he was almost brought to tears and was “embarrassed” to see that there were individuals owning 1,000 acres of Crown land.
“What are they doing with 1,000 acres? They are greedy,” Minnis said.
“They are hoarding land for themselves and their families, with futuristic plans to convert the land to subdivisions.
“It cannot happen and will not happen. Too many of our young people are crying for assistance.
“Sixty percent of our population is less than 45 years old, that is a grouping we cannot ignore. We must assist them.”
Minnis said his government wants to reserve Crown land for affordable housing developments and for young entrepreneurs to develop businesses.
He said last week that the government will hire more land surveyors, so that land can begin to be doled out in the shortest time possible.
“We are requesting individuals [land surveyors] to contact us, so we can assure and ensure that our young people who want to engage in business and who come forward with great ideas will get a head start,” said Minnis.
“We must ensure they have an opportunity to own land in this country.”
Last week, Minnis personally called for private land surveyors to phone the Office of the Prime Minister to inquire about surveying positions.
“We have one challenge, because we want to issue land to Bahamians, we have the land available, but we have the greatest challenge with surveyors,” Minnis said.
“We don’t have sufficient and that’s holding back this government giving land grants to many young people and Bahamians who have applied.”
Minnis, who made the remarks while addressing the media on his return from a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) meeting in Barbados, said he understands there may be a person or persons in a government office obstructing private surveyors from getting jobs, but he did not disclose which office, or if he knew who the person(s) may be. He did, however, promise to find the person(s) and deal with the issue.
“I don’t know who does it and I don’t want to call a name here, but they know who I’m talking about and I’m going to find out.
“We want to give the land to the Bahamian population, but we can’t give it because we don’t have sufficient surveyors and there are individuals who are hogging up this knowledge and don’t want Bahamians to get the land.”