British Virgin Islands Has Started Work on Crown Land Allocation Register.

Photo: Pinterest. The Crown has never made a comprehensive and accurate land registry for the BVI, but now that is changing,
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A Crown Land Allocation Register will be established soon in the British Virgin Islands Territory, according to a recent announcement by Ronald Smith-Berkeley, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change.

Smith-Berkeley said, “By the time this review is done, what we will have is a register that delineates all the crown land that we have available in the country, who applied, the size of the area of land acquired as well as how much they paid for this land.  In other words, complete transparency.”

The Permanent Secretary said once the register is completed and operational, it will be available for the public’s information on crown land that is available for purchasing.

Mr. Berkeley further stated, “Once someone has an interest for purchasing land, they will be directed to this particular register on the Government’s website to see where land is available, how much is available, for either commercial or residential purposes, or agricultural purposes.

“This will give persons an insight of exactly what they are looking for, avoiding persons having to guess when they are applying.”

Land in the British Virgin Islands falls into two categories: Crown Land (estimated at around 39 percent of the territory) and Private Land (61 percent of the territory).

However, these numbers are approximate and are complicated by the fact that Crown Land may include reclaimed land  and seabed that is under the ocean.

Further complications exist in cases where individuals have in the past undertaken payment plans to purchase Crown land, but have never completed the purchase.

Some Crown land is assigned to a particular use, such as public parks and protected areas; while other parts are available for disposal and development, residential or commercial.

Back in 2021, then Minister Vincent Wheatley admitted that the exact quantity of Crown land “is not definable at this time.”

“There are areas of reclamations that have not been mapped, and therefore no legal parcels exist,” Mr. Wheatley said. “However, such areas would be the property of the Government of the Virgin Islands.”

Government has designated portions of Crown land for public use in recent years, like in October 2019, when H. Lavity Stoutt Community College received 134 acres that HLSCC presidents had been requesting for more than two decades.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations stated in a 2000 report on land resources in the Caribbean that of the territory’s 38,248 acres, 39 percent was Crown land and 61 percent was privately owned, however those numbers are expected to change when the new Crown land registry is complete.

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