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Parliament approves new land law for Boa Vista 28 Julho 2009

The National Assembly approved a bill this morning extending the deadline for Boa Vista residents to prove ownership of lands in the districts of Rabil and Chaves to July 2010. The bill was given a positive vote by all 38 legislators representing the PAICV, as well as the MpD legislator representing the Boa Vista electoral circle, José Luís Santos. The 18 other MpD legislators, as well as the UCID’s two representatives, voted against the bill.

The government says that the law is aimed at helping the individuals “occupying” lands in the districts of Rabil and Chaves receive compensation for de-appropriation, as none of them has been able to prove legal ownership. Finance Minister Cristina Duarte claims that the lands are private state property, and that, as such, legislation aimed at defining the framework of financial compensation for their occupation was urgent.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Janira Hopffer Almada reinforced the idea that the proposal gives “occupants” the chance to prove effective ownership and receive proper compensation.

The legislators representing the PAICV welcomed the proposal, which they believe will help resolve the morose compensation payment process. “The PAICV’s parliamentary group supported this bill because it believes that all of us in Cape Verde should feel assured that our property rights must be respected and know that possession does not necessarily confer legal ownership,” said legislator David Hopffer Almada.

José Luís Santos, who represents the MpD for the Boa Vista electoral circle, also supported the bill, despite his party’s orientation to the contrary. The legislator justified his decision saying that although he did not agree with the way in which the government has managed the process, the problem must be resolved in one way or another.

The rest of the MpD parliamentary group, as well as the two UCID legislators, voted against the bill. MpD legislator Joana Rosa considered the law “shameful.” “We have come to the conclusion that this government carries out legislative acrobatics. One day, it says that people on Boa Vista are the owners of these lands, and the next day it says they are occupiers. This is shameful,” said Rosa in justifying the majority of her parliamentary group’s decision to vote against the proposal.

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