Non-locals using Paraquita Bay farm lands as ‘living quarters’?
Reports to the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) are that Paraquita Bay Crown lands that were subdivided and given to persons for farming purposes “have been transformed into living quarters in some instances”.
Opposition Leader Julian Fraser highlighted this concern when the Director of Agriculture & Fisheries, Theodore James appeared before the SFC recently.
The legislator stressed that something must be done about the matter. So while responding the concerns, James indicated that expatriates are the persons believed to be living on these designated farm lands.
According to an excerpt from the 2023 SFC report that was drafted and released following these meetings, “the Director stated that from his perspective, there were buildings that were approved to be built and were later destroyed. He stated that persons have sheds on the [Paraquita Bay] lots. The notion is that there are a lot of non-local[s] who took up residence however, locals are allowing persons to occupy the land.”
James also underscored that Crown land is a matter for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour. He stated that his role as Director of Agriculture and Fisheries is to ‘recommend as well as to inform’ but he has no authority as it pertains to land.
Based on the records of the 2023 SFC report, the subject was changed thereafter and no clear solution was outlined for the issue raised.
The Standing Finance Committee comprises the territory’s legislators who meet with all government departments and statutory bodies annually to examine their operations for the year in review.