HE Governor Nigel Dakin and the Hon. Premier, Charles Washington Misick attended the kick-off meeting marking the launch of the long-awaited joint UKG/TCIG review of the Crown land management system and legal framework in the Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Government in partnership with the United Kingdom Government have engaged two independent consultants, who will work collaboratively, to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing Crown land policy, legislation, operating procedures, and resourcing.
The review will focus on identifying the challenges with the existing Crown land management and legal framework and the implementation of the Ordinance since its commencement in April 2012. It will examine the extent to which improvement is needed and produce a set of recommendations to address the key factors affecting the success of Crown land reforms.
On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, His Excellency the Governor, the Hon. Premier, the Hon. Minister for PPID, the Hon. Attorney General and key UKG and TCIG officials met with the consultants to kick off the project.
Local Attorney Donhue Gardiner, experienced in land law and policy development in the Islands, was selected by the TCIG and Professor Simon Cooper, an expert in Caribbean land law and land registration systems, was selected by the UKG. They are tasked with working together to deliver the Review.
At the meeting, the Hon. Premier indicated that, “This is an exciting first step to implementing improvements in the Crown land management system that will benefit all Turks and Caicos Islanders and improve access to Crown land across our island chain.”
The Premier also stated that “the review will assist in identifying whether the existing Crown Land policy, ordinance, procedure and resourcing are fit for purpose and whether they will enable the strategic outcomes identified by his administration to develop sustainable and affordable housing stock for Turks and Caicos Islanders”.
In expressing his support for the review, HE Governor said: “I’m convinced that a review of policy and practice associated with Crown Land is needed, I am delighted that a collaborative approach to moving forward on this issue has been developed and has now begun. I look forward to the recommendations in six months’ time, to be quickly followed by implementation generating positive change which, if nothing else, provides greater opportunity for affordable housing”.
Adam Pile, Deputy Director of the Overseas Territories Directorate, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office confirmed UKG’s positive collaboration with the Premier, “We were pleased to be able to respond positively, and collaboratively, to the Premier’s request for a review of the processes, policies and Ordinance that cover Crown Land; a vital and precious resource that belongs to all Turks and Caicos Islanders.
Supporting the Islands’ needs, particularly in terms of housing, our hope is that a more straightforward approach will be developed to allow the use, ownership and stewardship of this valuable resource, while ensuring that the values of transparency and good governance are protected”
The Honourable Attorney General Rhondalee Braithwaite Knowles OBE QC stressed the need for “independence, professionalism and collaboration amongst the consultants given that the output from the review will inform discussions between the two governments to finalize changes to the Ordinance, process and resourcing to enable the Crown Land Unit to more effectively carry out its mandate.”
Members of the Public will receive more information about how to engage with the project over the six months of the consultancy.