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The Government of Guyana has terminated the contract of Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) Commissioner, Trevor Benn.
In a letter dated November 4, 2020, Benn was instructed to proceed on administrative leave up until February 2021 when his contract is scheduled to end.
Speaking to Village Voice News on Tuesday, Benn said that a letter ‘Termination of Contract of Service’ was dispatched by Permanent Secretary of the Office of the President, Abena Moore and no reason was given.
“They didn’t give me any reason. They just thanked me for my service and wished me well according to the letter,” he said.
The letter, seen by the Village Voice News states: “I regret to inform you that your contract for service as Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, dates the 1st day of April 2019 to the 31st day of March 2022, inclusive, is hereby terminated with effect from the 4th February 2021, pursuant to Clause eight of the schedule of Contract…you are hereby directed to proceed upon administrative leave with immediate effect until the said contract comes to an end, that is to say, on the 4th day of February 2021.”
Benn was also instructed to return any property and records of the Government that may have still been in his custody. Back in September, Benn was sent on 42 days’ annual leave about one month after President Ali revoked his power to grant state land leases. Enrique Monize has replaced Benn as Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer(ag).
Meanwhile, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, said a review of all leases, licenses and permissions to occupy public lands, granted since December 21, 2018, no-confidence motion will be conducted.
Nandlall has said the land transactions by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) would be handed over to the Guyana Police Force’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for investigation.
The GLSC falls under the administration of the State Land Act. State land is administered by the President who normally delegates it by an instrument to the Commissioner of the GLSC.
Nandlall said that an examination of Former GLSC Commissioner, Trevor Benn’s instrument, revealed that he was never given the power to issue titles for lands.
On Monday, following a press briefing at the Umana Yana, Nandlall told reporters that the former Commissioner issued titles for hundreds of acres of lands across the country. He said those transactions are illegal and unlawful, and therefore a thorough review is ongoing.
“[A] forensic audit may have to be commissioned to understand what went on with those transactions [….] What the review is picking up is some very strange procedures. We observed that there was no public notification exercise for these lands. So, persons have received land, and no one knows how they knew where these lands were and how to apply for them,” Nandlall said.