GL&SC, UG ink pact for training of land administrators

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R-L: University of Guyana’s Vice-Chancellor, XI, Prof. Paloma Mohamed Martin, Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, Lands and Surveys Commission, Mr. Enrique Monize and FAO Country Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith, signing the Letter of Agreement

The University of Guyana (UG) on March 16 inked a Letter of Agreement (LoA) with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which will see a number of officers from the GLSC and other sister agencies being trained in the area of sustainable land administration and management.

The initiative which is part of the Sustainable Land Development and Management Project is being supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) – a UN agency. The agreement will see the University of Guyana through its Department of Geography, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences offering a Diploma in Land Administration and Management (LAM) for the second time. Twenty students are being fully funded through the LoA and an additional six will benefit from a full tuition waiver being offered by the University.

The LoA was signed during a simple ceremony at the Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Center for Behavioural Sciences and Research Building (CeBRES), Turkeyen Campus.

The diploma programme aims to foster the growth and development of local land surveyors who are employed at the GLSC as well as officers from other government agencies who have an interest in land administration and management.

Students enrolled in this programme will participate in a full 18-month curriculum and upon completion, they will graduate with a Diploma in Land Administration and Management.

University of Guyana’s Vice-Chancellor, XI, Prof. Paloma Mohamed Martin, in giving brief opening remarks, thanked the Faculty of Earth of Environmental Sciences, the FAO, and the GLSC for their commitment and dedication to seeing the programme being successfully implemented. “I want to thank you for having the insight and foresight for recognising the importance of a programme like this and having the energy to develop it over a year ago… this is actually the second round of offering the programme to the GLSC,” the Vice-Chancellor expressed.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, the first cohort of students expressed satisfaction with the delivery of the programme. The VC noted: “The feedback that we have gotten from the first cohort is that it has been excellent as the students were from practical practising entities in government and so it is providing tremendous support to the Government of Guyana and the entities it works through in supporting these development objectives.” UG will support 6 additional students to the programme from governmental departments in dire need of the necessary upskilling in land administration. The University will also begin to offer a modernized degree in surveying in the new academic year.

The feature address was delivered by Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, Lands and Surveys Commission, Mr. Enrique Monize.

In his remarks, the Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer of the GLSC noted that when he returned to the GLSC in 2020, he saw the need for more training and another land administration programme in order to build the capacity of the agency. “We have been using land surveying students to conduct land processing in the Commission. So, this is an opportunity to build capacity within our organisation in this vital area,” the Commissioner noted.

Mr. Monize expressed that the necessary training in land management and administration in Guyana is essential for the officers. “Land management is also a process but this deals with the resources of the land and to ensure the resources of the land are put to good use, be it farming or mineral exactions. There are a lot of activities in terms of housing development in the country. So, land management coupled with land administration could make a good programme for the Lands and Surveys Commission.”

The Commissioner shared his profound satisfaction in the level of improvement the Commission has seen in their staff from the first cohort of students and because of this, the Commission found it necessary to support the programme again.

FAO Country Representative, Dr. Gillian Smith said: “This programme seeks to provide capacity building that is certified in the field of land administration by the University of Guyana for twenty students from GLSC and other government entities.”

She revealed that the value of the project is GY $20.6 million and urged the beneficiaries to take full advantage of the opportunities to develop themselves.

Chief Technical Advisor for Sustainable Land Development and Management, Mr. Javier Prieto expressed thanks to the Government of the Kingdom of Norway for its continued support and funding towards sustainable land preservation in Guyana and for making the programme possible for the development and training for proper land administration and management in Guyana.

Two prospective students; Ms. Nadanie Singh and Mr. Lumuel Wickham, provided an overview of their expectations of what they hope to achieve during and after completing their Diploma in the Land Administration and Management programme.

The programme will begin on March 28, 2022, and the persons who were selected to participate in the programme have already registered. However, if there is a need for queries persons can make contact with the Head of the Department of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ms. Linda Johnson-Bhola via email at [email protected] or via telephone at +592 602 0960.

Also present at the signing ceremony were; the Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Temitope Oyedotun; Deputy Commissioner of GLSC, Mr. Michael Hutson, and other officers of the Commission.