Dedicated land registry essential to ease of doing business, registrar says
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Registrar of Lands Dawn Myers applauded the government of St. Kitts and Nevis for establishing a dedicated land registry as it is essential to the ease of doing business, noting that one of the central pillars of the modern system of land law is the registration of title to land.
She explained that all of the processes at the registry in St. Kitts dealing with land matters are done manually, so the government saw it fit to establish a registry to combat excessive “delays in the registration of land and the issuing of the certificates of title.”
“These delays have had a disastrous effect on the ease of doing business in St. Kitts,” she said. “The government of St. Kitts and Nevis, through the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and Communication, decided that something needed to be done.” She that two activities took place to solve the issue: “The first was the enactment of the Land Registry Act in July of 2017, which provides for the establishment of a dedicated national land registry, with a main office in St. Kitts, and a branch office in Nevis; the staffing of the registry; the converting of hard copy records to and the maintenance of records in an electronic format, and the availability of direct and remote access to registry services.”
She said that the second activity by the government was the entering into discussions with the Republic of China (Taiwan) on a St. Kitts and Nevis Land Administration Information System (LAIS) Project, which was signed into being June 29. This was done in order to bring technological solutions to the current land registry system. The functional modules will include land registration, case management and system management.
She briefly outlined some of the benefits of the land registry. “With the establishment of the dedicated land registry and with all the systems in place, no longer should there be a situation in which one parcel of land is sold to two different [people]; no longer should there be a situation in which a tax payer is being charged for land that he or she does not own; no longer should there be a situation in which the financial institutions are uncomfortable with regard to whether they in fact do have security on the right parcel of land,” she said.
In keeping with the Land Registry Act, Myers was appointed as registrar of lands in November 2017. Immediately, she set out to accomplish two things: address the backlog of cases created over the years in St. Kitts – it is her belief that significant progress has been made, but there is more to be done – and to establish a Land Registry Committee.
She appealed to the general public to be patient with their attorneys and her office as they work assiduously to reduce the back log.
The Land Registry, which is now separated from the High Court, works closely with the Inland Revenue Department in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Lands and Surveys Department, and generally, the Ministries of Sustainable Development and the Ministries of Communications and Physical Planning.