Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin has issued a stern warning to the Barbuda Council to refrain from moving ahead with their plan to issue Certificates of Allotment to residents who have acquired land.
In a notice issued on 4th November, 2022, the Barbuda Council Lands Department informed the public that the certificate is a “Collective Title” which serves to confirm ownership of land in Barbuda.
This, the Council claims, is being done as they continue to upgrade the local land registration and distribution process.
AG Benjamin, however, says the Barbuda Council has no authority to take these actions which are considered “wholly unlawful and unconstitutional, and all such allotments void”.
In a statement, Minister Benjamin said the Barbuda Council has no legal or constitutional authority to allot land to anyone “without the sanction and approval of the Cabinet of the Unitary State of Antigua and Barbuda. And certainly, no power to vest any ownership of any land in Barbuda”.
He added, “Further, as this purported action comes after the long history of losing cases in the local courts and more recently in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, I must condemn this action on the part of the Barbuda Council as a cheap political stunt.”
The Barbuda Council, in detailing its plan and soliciting the cooperation of the Barbudan public, said its land officers will be moving throughout the community to gather information from land occupiers with a view to expediting the registration process for acquiring the Certificate of Allotment.
This process, the Council continued, could be completed by visiting the lands office with the relevant documentation commencing Monday 7th November, 2022.
Attorney General Benjamin has warned, however, if the Barbuda Council does not abandon its plan, legal action will be taken against the body.
“I therefore wish to advise the Council that this blatant partisan usurpation of authority and stunt, must cease immediately, failing which legal action will be taken forthwith.”