Speaking to this paper Western Provincial Secretary (PS) Jeffrey Wickham explained that the acquisition of the concerned land area was not done in consultation with the WPG and they were not given the opportunity to collude on its current status.
He said though the process is not illegal, there is a courtesy understanding by which the WPG is consulted on any matter of attaining land within the WP which in the case of Lot 229 did not happen.
The public must be made aware that land matters under the lands and titles act and the powers vested under the act is the responsibility of and can only be approved by the Commissioner of Lands and the Lands Board.
Though the land was understood to be returned to the WP, unfortunately without the knowledge of the WPG it was reallocated some few years back.
“It would have been a better situation to have had the authority over the land returned to the province as to allow discussions with the commissioner at the time about the status and potential of such a prime site and how best to go about its development.”
“It is our hope that in light of the distress and disturbance born from this, the WPG and Commissioner’s Office would be able to better work together in assuring consultations are made with each other in a timely manner as to avoid future misunderstandings and inconveniences,” he said.
PS Wickham explained that the situation may have been made more complicated since the reacquisition of Lot 229, Parcel Number 097-005-10 had been done years ago and very likely before the current commissioner of lands took office.
In any case the WPG is dedicated to having the authority of the Lot 229, Parcel Number 097-005-10 be returned to the WP for public interest allowing WPG to have a hand in the determination of potential future development prior to seeking the approval of the Lands Commissioner and Lands Boards.
By TERENCE ZIRU