– to re-embark on mapping exercise after stolen computer delays projectThe Guyana Lands and Survey’s Commission (GL&SC) processes thousands of lease applicants each year and as the demand for land grows, it is considering opening up some 6000 acres of state land in Region Four for various purposes.An example of the imagery generated by LIDAR technologyThis was explained by Chief Executive Officer of GL&SC, Trevor Benn, during their end of year press conference at the Commission on Monday. He explained that as of now, this land is undeveloped, without basic infrastructure. The whole process, he noted, will cost millions.“What we have been doing over the years is land given to you, we take it back if you don’t properly occupy it and we give it to someone else. So it’s an exchange since the 1980s, because we have not opened up new areas. So we have been trying since then, to open up land.”GL&SC CEO Trevor Benn“There’s no infrastructure in the area, but we have designed a plan, consisting of infrastructure that will see us removing issues of space and ensuring that we have a more structured land use in place. We’re going to have commercial, light industrial, residential.”To illustrate the demand for land, Benn explained that for the year, the Commission has processed 3537 applications and approved 849. He further explained that a total of 489 leases were prepared by GL&SC; a process Benn said is currently being digitised.“We have started with the designs. We’re working with various Government agencies to get their buy-in and input into what a modern 21st-century community should look like. And what we’re hearing and seeing from them is we want to have a community that we don’t have to go back to in 10 years to build new roads.”“To build hospital spaces. You know, when the Soesdykye-Linden Highway was developed all those years ago and most of the land development schemes, you could have known before you entered the community, where a police station as going to be built. Where a playfield would have been built. Where the school would be built. How many house lots would be there.”The CEO also noted the importance of them establishing adequate sized lots, big enough to allow persons to plant kitchen gardens if they so desire. In addition, there should be ‘green’ spaces to have mini-parks that persons in the communities could use.Also, Benn noted that they are working on putting all Land and Survey services online, so persons won’t have to visit the office for basic services. He said that another initiative being pursued is a National Base mapping process, to remap the country using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. The whole project will cost some $3.7 billion.There has been a hitch with that plan, however. According to Benn, a laptop that belonged to the North West Geomatics Limited, the Canadian-based company undertaking the remapping, was “illegally removed” from an aircraft at one of the airports.“That work is about to start, the consultant and team is on the ground. There are two aircrafts on the ground at the Ogle airport. Unfortunately, when they arrived here three Fridays ago we had a very ugly incident, where their laptop was removed from the aircraft without their consent, at one of our airports.”“And that delayed the work and now that they have been able to replace the laptop, the rain is upon us. So it’s further delayed… we are going to be doing Region One and part of Region Four first.”Asked where the house lots will be, Benn could not say. He cited the need for mapping to be done and also the threat of squatters taking up illegal residence. According to Benn, squatters in the new areas being opened up is the last thing the GL&SC needs.
TUCSON, Ariz. – Under the shade of a mesquite tree here one morning this week, waiting for work that did not come, Elias Ramirez weighed the hurdles of what could be the biggest overhaul in immigration law in two decades. To become full legal residents, under a compromise Senate leaders announced Thursday, Ramirez and other illegal immigrants would have to pay a total of $5,000 in fines, more than 14 times the typical weekly earnings on the streets here, return to their home countries at least once, and wait as long as eight years. During the wait, they would have limited possibilities to bring other family members. “Well, it sounds difficult, but not impossible,” said Ramirez, 24, a native of Chiapas, Mexico, who has been here a year. “I would like to be here legally in the future, so these things are what I might have to do.” Another man among the group of job-seekers gathered outside a church here that serves as a hiring site for day laborers overheard Ramirez and approached with disdain. In his weekly radio address on Saturday, President Bush said that the measure “will improve security at our borders. It will give employers new tools to verify the employment status of workers and hold businesses to account for those they hire.” Bush added: “This legislation will clear the backlog of family members who’ve applied to come to our country lawfully, and have been waiting patiently in line. “And this legislation will transform our immigration system so that future immigration decisions are focused on admitting immigrants who have the skills, education, and English proficiency that will help America compete in a global economy.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “It’s almost impossible to bring your family,” he said, rattling off information he had gleaned from a Spanish-language newspaper. “You have to go back first, and what are you going to do in Mexico while you are there and there is no work?” The compromise bill has offered a glimmer of hope to illegal immigrants here, 60 miles from the border, and elsewhere. But they and others, through news reports, advocates, and lawyers, are just now learning the fine print. Advocacy groups here said they would lobby lawmakers to reject the bill, saying it would place onerous restrictions on illegal workers who want to win legal status and also hurt efforts to unify immigrant families. “This is an unprecedented shift from family unity being the cornerstone of our immigration policy,” said Isabel Garcia, a lawyer and a chairwoman of Derechos Humanos, an advocacy group here. Garcia also objected to what she called “insurmountable” obstacles in the bill. The compromise Senate bill proposes an initiative to give legal status to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. It also portends a major shift in the priorities and values of American immigration for the future. It would gradually change a system based primarily on family ties, in place since 1965, into one that favors high-skilled and highly educated workers who want to become permanent residents.