11 November, 2009
More on the forum last Tuesday. Last Tuesday, I took the opportunity to bring up for discussion a common problem attended to at the Anguilla Legal Aid Clinic: Surveying methods in
Anguilla. I explained that one of the most common complaints in the Legal Aid Clinic had already been mentioned by Dame Bernice. That was the practice of the Planning Department, with the compliance of the surveyors, to insert provision for a public road into every subdivision. This was done without informing the landowner of his rights, or the implications of what was being done. The public road reserve was often inserted into the survey without the road connecting to an existing road at either end. The road provision was stuck in with no justification or rationale, merely in the hope that one day it might be extended over the adjoining parcels. No compensation was offered or even discussed. This amounted to a fraud, in my opinion, on families that were subdividing inherited land.
I told the audience that a second problem that arose in the Anguilla Legal Aid Clinic also involved surveys. I explained that in most West Indian islands, there were rules that required surveyors to notify neighbours whenever a new boundary was going to be put down. Surveyors should be required to get the consent of all affected landowners before the Chief Surveyor permitted any survey to be registered. It appeared that the contrary was done in
Anguilla. Surveyors here are not guided by any written standards. Here, surveyors are encouraged not to speak to neighbouring landowners, but to present a fait accompli in the hope that any dissatisfaction would be mute and helpless.
There had also been complaints that the Planning Department sometimes required a road provision to be made alongside a boundary without any discussion with the neighbouring landowner who might have been willing to contribute one half of the road provision. The result was that persons who were desperate to have their land sub-divided were being compelled to provide a road for all the neighbours without the neighbours contributing.
A lively discussion followed the two presentations.