Land Management Division
LAND MANAGEMENT DIVISION
The Office of the Commissioner of State Lands (COSL) is charged with the overall management, distribution and allocation of all State Lands which, includes all shoreline below the high water mark and the seabed within the waters of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Division is also responsible for the acquisition of privately owned
land for public purposes and the issuance of State Grants.
To enhance the quality of life for all citizens through the balanced stewardship of State Lands and Resources.
To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of State Lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The activities undertaken by the Land Management Division (LMD) involves the following:-
- Processing new leases, renewals and other tenancy agreements;
- Correction of breached tenancies by serving advisory notices on tenants
- Receiver of Revenue for approved votes for collection of monies
such as for leases, renewals and other tenancy agreements etc.;
- Preparation and Registration of State Grants;
- Grant of Consents for transfer of leases, assignments and mortgages;
- Approval of Building Plans on state lands;
- Acquisition of private land for public purposes;
- Processing of licenses and leases pertaining to land reclamation,
mines and Quarries
- Reservation of land for designated purposes;
- Resolution of land disputes and
- Court matters.
State Lands Management includes:
- Identification of State Land
- Collection storage and analysis of statistical data
- Selection of land which may be tenanted
- Land Distribution
- Protection of State land from degradation
Identification of State Lands
In order to identify State Lands one must be aware of the location, acreage, availability, status and capability of the parcel
The State must know its lands in order to make sound management decisions, effect relevant policy decisions, forecast trends and have effect proactive management initiatives
Data Collection and Analysis is important as information is essential in support of decisions made, to forecast trends,-to be proactive and to justify decisions taken. The Mechanism for data collection, storage and use is through a Geo-positioned map or photograph together with an Information database. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is essential and requires data input, verification, updating, and is an integral part of operations.
Failure to accurately identify State lands results in accidental use of private lands resulting in law suits, illicit occupation being undetected and loss of revenue
There are different type of tenure that is use by the COSL Office
These can be in the form of licence, agreement or lease from one month to three years which are not registered as it is temporary and short term use. Built development not usually allowed.
These are for a period of thirty to nine ninety-nine must be registered usually have considerable investment. They must be monitored in order to ascertain if there are any issues.
These include the State Grants or a Vesting Order or Act
–No Tenure but Responsibility
Reservation for government and state agencies
Procedure for Grant of Tenure
LMD operates with the State Land Distribution Policy 1992. The process must be free, fair and transparent.
Before Advertisement the land must be identified, the suitable use determined, comments of specialist agencies sort, surveyed to define boundaries, valued for the premium/rental to be paid and Cabinet approval must be acquired.
After Advertisement a dossier must firstly be compiled with supporting documents to develop an order of merit list. Then a letter of offer is prepared subject to Cabinet approval.
Once the prospective lessees is informed of Cabinet’s decision and requested to pay fees the following steps are taken:
-instructions to Chief State Solicitor’s (CSS) office
-lease received for signature
-lease(s) signed and returned to CSS for registration
-registered lease distributed by COSL
-lease entered into record by Director of Surveys
-jetty and reclamation licences
Monitoring State Lands
Proactive monitoring includes the periodic visitation of parcels, Rotating schedule aim to determine unauthorised occupation/activity or breaches. It is generally easier to stop situations before they become entrenched.
Responsive monitoring is initiated when particular application is received and checks are made for tenure flaws and breaches on site.
Enforcement against Infractions goes hand in hand with monitoring. It must be done when negative situations are found in the tenure records or on the parcels
Current process involves conducting an inspection and report. If necessary the preparation, signature and servicing of Notices to Quit. After a revisit to parcel if necessary Termination of tenure or Legal procedure towards eviction and or repossession
Protection of State Lands
Lands must be protected from degradation, the most common causes are erosion, deforestation and failure to restore lands after quarrying. It can be natural – coastal or manmade – squatters, dumping. Afterwards specialist agencies and ministries need to take action to mitigate or restore the land. The COSL would then follow up to ensure timely completion of necessary remedial action to avoid law suits.