Lands Commission to embark on $200M remapping of Reg. 1

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By Bibi Khatoon

After close to approximately five decades, the Government will begin remapping of the country’s land and water resources in 2019, starting from Region One (Barima Waini).

This will increase the efficiency of land management.

According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC), Trevor Benn, this will cost over $200M.

“You need data to help you with infrastructural work. If you don’t have good data…then a lot of the major infrastructural works we do as a country will either rely on external persons’ data or will have to be made based on guestimates,” Mr. Benn explained. 

He told reporters at a press conference on Monday that based on estimates received from various international suppliers, it will cost $5.3B to $16B to remap the entire country.

“The last time we did mapping of the country is in the late 60s…so you can understand the issues we are faced with in doing proper surveying and producing updated maps for the benefit of our clients,” Mr Benn noted.

Depending on the mode used for the remapping process, he said the project can last up to four years.

The GL&SC, which is responsible for state lands administration and surveying, is faced with a number of issues due to outdated maps of the country; there are challenges associated with inadequate information of available land and other resources.

According to the CEO, there are some countries which conduct aerial mapping on a weekly basis and this helps when analyzing useful data on crime, natural resources and conservation among others.

Currently, the CEO said the GL&SC is working on the development of a land parcel database for Regions 2, 3 and 7 but due to the lack of updated maps, the process has been “tedious.”

It is the hope of the agency that the database, when completed, will be extended to other regions.

Additionally, with its influx of oil and gas resources, the agency is looking to undertake a hydrographic survey and establishing a hydrographic unit.

“We also have to do hydro graphic mapping of our rivers and seas. With oil coming, it is important that we have this information because we continually have to rely on others for this expert information and many Guyanese are saying to us that they not have been giving us all the facts to help us to make decisions and if we have the information ourselves, we might be able to do a better job in negotiating,” the CEO noted.

Recently, the Government granted approval for a US$78,750 contract for the creation of a digital map of all the crime hotspots in Region Four, Demerara-Mahaica.

The contract was awarded by the Ministry of Public Security to the Consultant, Valerie Grant and will provide digital maps on areas prone to criminal activities.

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