Dr. Turad Senesie, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, on the 23rd March 2021 revisited the Mount Sugar Loaf to engage community stakeholders in a dialogue on the need to preserve and protect State land and forest reserves.
The Lands Minister was accompanied by his colleague Minister in the Ministry of Environment and senior management staff of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministries of Environment, Lands, Housing and Country Planning.
During the community meeting, it was exposed that certain community members are conniving with strangers to encroach on State Lands and engage in forest degradation activities.
Minister Turad Senesie sounded a stern warning for perpetrators to desist from such illegal and disastrous ventures, as according to him, defaulters will be subjected to the full force of the law.
According to the Minister, consultations and negotiations will always be the first approach ahead of the implementation of the tough laws that protect State land, the environment, lives and properties.
“No one should take advantage of the human face governance approach of the new direction Government as the law will fall heavily on anyone who engages on illegal activities,” he cautioned.
He called on the community youths to take charge and protect their community from encroachers, noting that they should not allow illegal human activities to endanger their lives and properties.
The Minister of the Environment, Prof. Foday Moriba Jaward reminded the community people that the Government is concerned about the rise in negative human activities that are threatening the lives and properties of citizens.
It is as a result of the seriousness the Government attaches to human and environmental safety that an inter-ministerial committee was set up to preserve and protect the environment, the Minister disclosed.
The Committee comprises the Ministries of Environment, Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Water Resources, Internal Affairs, Tourism, Defence and Local Government.
According to the Environment Minister, the Government will ensure the use of every legal authority to safeguard the environment.
At the meeting chaired by the Director of Lands and Survey, statements were made by the Director of Housing and Deputy Director of Lands and Survey.
The community people expressed appreciation to the Ministers and team, while assuring that they will collaborate with the Government to ensure illegal activities in that part of the country will become a thing of the past.
(C) The Calabash Newspaper