Country Planning and Environment Minister, (Cpt) Benjamin O. Davies has pledged that his “objective is to computerize each and every parcel of land by title and not by conveyance and if there is any overlap on the coordinates of any parcel of land we will put in software in our computers which will reject it”.
This was disclosed during the weekly meet the press briefings at the information Ministry Thursday.
The Minister disclosed that he intends to use geographical information systems, satellite photography and global positioning systems to map the entire landscape of Sierra Leone
Presently he said these systems are only used by the mining companies, private enterprises and international organizations, but he has done his homework and has been able to find out that what he intends to do is achievable.
The Minister said that he will start with computerizing all the parcels of land which do not have any conflict and those which have conflict will be taken first to the Lands commission and if not resolved then they will be taken to the courts.
The Minister also revealed that he has held discussion with the Attorney Generals office and has asked them to assign three magistrates specifically to sit on land cases, and they have agreed to do so because land cases constitute up to 60% of all the cases in the courts.
Responding to a question from Winston Ojukutu Macauley about access for those who live outside the country to the computerized information, the Minister answered saying “Our geographical information systems will be open with certain restrictions in restricted areas worldwide so anywhere in the world you should be able to not only look at the information concerning your property but if you can download Google you should be able to sit anywhere in the world and physically see you building in Freetown or Sierra Leone that is the way I am going.”
Giving a status report about his ministry after one month in office Mr Davies disclosed that his ministry was embarking on a constructive plan of re- engineering of the various sectors of the ministry.
He explained the survey and mapping section were archaic “all our maps are old we don’t have any maps, modern survey equipments, no data or computers that will enable us to have a proper information system in place and in my planning department there is actually little or no planning and in the environmental department there is some distortion”
In all of these areas he went on “there are common indicators which is lack of human capacity and lack of logistics in terms of computers, transportation and the physical distribution of the various offices”
He pointed out that the administrative office of the Ministry was at Youyi building whilst the technical section is at new England and the registration office at Roxy building.
The Minister also disclosed that there was no such thing as community land and he has already bbeen holding meetings with the chiefs and elders to make them understand that.
On the issue of agricultural land he said though he personally did not support the two systems in one country yet the issue was being looked at by the law officers and he will give his recommendation when they finish.