-Minister Harmon meets with Board
Minister of State Mr. Joseph Harmon yesterday announced that Mr. Trevor Benn has been appointed Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) and will commence work from today. Mr. Benn, who was previously a Senior Land Developer at the Commission, was most recently a Programme Analyst with responsibility for governance and poverty at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Minister made this announcement at a preliminary meeting of the Board of Directors of the GL&SC at the Commission’s D’urban Backlands location, where he said the Commission is well poised to advance its work in the administration of state lands.
At the meeting, the Minister used the opportunity to welcome the Board members and the Observers, who were drawn from the various government ministries and departments, and expressed confidence that their varied expertise and experience will promote the work of the Commission.
“I trust that with the composition of this Board, the blend of experience from academia, from business, of persons who are in legal practice, persons who are in private land surveying, that you bring that total blend of skills [to] make the Commission what it was meant to be,” Minister Harmon was quoted as saying in a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency.
Incoming Commissioner, Mr. Benn, who was not at the meeting, met with President David Granger yesterday afternoon and said, in an invited comment following that meeting, that he was both pleased to accept the appointment and with the confidence that the President has reposed in him.
He said he intends to use his knowledge and experience “to help to bring about some changes to the way we see land and use land in Guyana”, adding that “it is not acceptable for people to be waiting exceptionally long for a piece of land.”
With regard to his immediate plans, Mr. Benn said he intends to make priority issues related to policy, the backlog of lease allocations and those related to the welfare of the Commission’s staff.
“The President feels that land is very important to the economic well being of the country and the people… and, therefore, he expects that I will treat my work at the Lands and Surveys Commission in that vein to ensure that land is used to empower people of Guyana. I have given the President my assurance that we will work assiduously to ensure that that happens in the shortest possible time,” Mr. Benn said, adding that “as a first step my interest is in understanding the general issues concerning land; land rights, land use, et cetera.”
The Board of Directors has agreed to meet once per month and the next full meeting is scheduled for May 19 where a time and date for monthly meetings will be made statutory.
The Board will be chaired by Ms. Paulette Henry, Lecturer, Head of the Department of Sociology and Interim Director of Gender Studies at the University of Guyana and will include members; Mr. Rawle Small, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Guyana Incorporated; Ms. Patsy Ross, former Programme Officer at the UNDP; Lieutenant Colonel Ramkarran Doodnauth of the Guyana Defence Force, Commander at Base Camp Stephenson; Mr. Joel Trotman, Civil Engineer/Land Surveyor; Mr. Maurice Gajadhar, CEO of New Timehri Handling Services Incorporated; Mr. Wilfred Brandford, local hotel entrepreneur; Mr. Randy Storm, Executive Manager at Banks DIH Limited; Mr. Clayton Hall, former Commissioner of Forests at the Guyana Forestry Commission and Programme Director at Conservation International, now of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment; Mr. Kevin Samad, Civil Engineer in the Ministry of Public Infrastructure; Mr. Leon Rutherford, Manager of Surveys, GL&SC; Mr. Rawle Edinboro, Chief Development Planner, Central Housing and Planning Authority; and Ms. Carol James, Surveyor.