Establishment of a Dedicated Land Registry Expected to Improve Federation’s Rank in Ease of Doing Business

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 28, 2016 (SKNIS): The Honourable Vincent Byron Jr., Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, said that the establishment of a dedicated Land Registry in St. Kitts and Nevis is vital and the government remains committed to ensuring that the project comes to fruition, as it will significantly assist the Federation in making the ease of doing business easier.

In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, St. Kitts and Nevis is ranked 169 in 2016 with a 15 mark increase to 184 in 2017 for registering properties. According to the report, such a ranking makes it more difficult to do business in the Federation.

In response to a question posed at the prime minister’s monthly press conference on Wednesday (October 26), the Attorney General explained why St. Kitts and Nevis might have recorded such ranking.

“The Registry does a wide range of duties in our community, dealing with the maintenance of the High Court itself and the Court of Appeal. It does matters related to our civil registry, as well as to the registration of titles and deeds,” said the Attorney General, while adding that an early decision was made by the Government to separate the Land Registry from the High Court Registry.

The minister of justice and legal affairs said that with the establishment of a dedicated Land Registry, St. Kitts and Nevis’ ranking will reflect a marked improvement.

“With this project that we are doing, we expect this to change dramatically and bring us more in compliance with international norms,” he said, while noting that also on the matter of the ease of doing business is the way in which civil and criminal matters have been done in the court. “There have always been a backlog of matters in the High Court and as a result in discussions over the last year with the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) and others involved, there has been a decision to establish a second High Court Chamber at the Sir Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial Complex.”

Minister Byron said that work is currently ongoing and it is expected that within the next week or two a new court will be open. The new High Court will usher in a new Judge to reduce the backlog of cases and expedite a number of problems encountered in the past.

He said that currently there are a number of applications for the position of a Registrar of Titles at the Land Registry and shortly a determination will be made for the appointment of a qualified person to fill the post.

“We expect that once we set up a new Land Registry dedicated to the processing of lands and properties, that this will be welcomed by the business community and the banks, said Minister Byron. “It will be welcomed by our own Inland Revenue in terms of tax collection and so on and all those involved in terms of trying to own property lands in our country and we expect this would be done within the next few months.”

The Land Registry will be housed in the Georgian House, formerly the Clico Building, and is expected to be operational shortly.

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