The Government of Guyana plans to repossess thousands of acres of lands from several Co-op Societies for the development of Agriculture and food security. This is according to Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton during his budget presentation to the national assembly today.
The Minister outlined that the administration is adamant about enhancing food security and as such will not allow societies to halt progress. In Guyana, it is estimated that there are over 1,000 Cooperative Societies, some of which are inactive.
According to Minister Hamilton, lands that are currently owned by various co-op societies, that have remained undeveloped, will be repossessed and used for farming and other agricultural development.
The unapologetic Minister expressed disdain at the fact that the lands lay dormant, while the various societies are either disbanded or run by a single individual. While he foresaw issues with co-op societies about this move, he affirmed that the decision is one in the best interest of development.
“They have in their possession tens of thousands of acres of land, most of which is currently nonproductive… We will have to resolve or dissolve,” Minister Hamilton said.
He told the National Assembly that in preparation for the undertaking, key stakeholders, such as the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission and the Guyana Forestry Commission were all consulted about which co-op society will have their lands repossessed for underdevelopment.
Minister Hamilton further acknowledged that while the move may have public backlash, societies that showed interest to develop their respective allotted lands will be spared. “What will not continue to happen is having co-op societies hold on to lands and do nothing with them. It cannot happen,” Hamilton said.