Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 05, 2021 (SKNIS): A Bill to validate the Land Registry Act #10 of 2017 and to give retroactive effect to the provisions of the Act otherwise known as the Land Registry Validation Bill, 2021, was passed in the Federal Parliament on Thursday, August 05.
Mover of the Bill, the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Vincent Byron Jr., said that the “Bill will seek to provide for the Land Registry Act to come into operation” on August 09, 2021, and “it would also validate any action taken or done by the government prior to the coming into force of the said Act.”
Attorney-General Byron added the Bill is an important part of the national heritage.
“Mr. Speaker, real property is a cornerstone of the economy of any country and so it is, here with us in St. Kitts and Nevis. To have real property, an individual has to have that property registered,” said Minister Byron Jr. “And since 1887, we here in St. Kitts and Nevis have been governed by the Title by Registration Act. At that time, what came into force was a system of land registration, a system that one refers to as the Torrens System and this system is a land registration and land transfer system in which a state creates and maintains a register of land holdings which serves as the conclusive evidence and termed indefeasible of title of the person recorded on the register as the proprietor, owner and all other interests recorded on the register,” Senator Byron Jr. added.
He noted that in the past, land registration, land management and the land transfer system were handled directly by the High Court Registry. However, all that changed in 2017 when a dedicated Land Registry was established in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Act modernizes and streamlines the process.
“The long title of the Act provides for an Act to establish a National Land Registry and to provide for electronic searches, the preservation of records and related matters. The Act provides for the establishment of a dedicated Land Registry with a main office in St. Kitts and a branch office in Nevis,” he said. “It also provides for the staffing of the Registry, the converting of land copy records to electronic copies and the maintenance of records in an electronic format and the availability of direct and remote access of registry services.”
In keeping with the Land Registry Act, Dawn Myers was appointed as Registrar of Lands in November 2017. Immediately, she set out to accomplish two things: address the backlog of cases created over the years in St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as to establish a Land Registry Committee.
The Land Registry, which is now separated from the High Court, works closely with the Inland Revenue Department in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Lands and Surveys Department, and generally, the Ministries of Sustainable Development and the Ministries of Communications and Physical Planning.