Home / News / Local / DPM Davis Addresses Confusion in Moore’s Island Land Grant
Individuals have built or squatted on properties across Moore’s Island for many years, leading to land title that is questionable and therefore not marketable, according to Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis. However, part of the land the recent Gov’t resolution intends to grant to locals does have clear succession of title, such as the portion of land sitting between Hard Bargain and The Bight which was originally granted to Richardson and John Saunders (above) that has a clear succession of title to William Edwards - who in turn sold to as many as 58 Bahamians. Mr. Davis argues that just because one has deeds to a property does not necessarily translate to marketable title. He told The Abaconian that “anyone who claims to have ownership to any of the land acquired, the law sets out a process of compensation premised on their producing title that is good and marketable.” However, some Moore’s Islanders in this land block have been able to get a mortgage or loan on their property’s title due to the fact of clear succession of ownership.

DPM Davis Addresses Confusion in Moore’s Island Land Grant

On March 22 a resolution to transfer more than 460 acres of land in Moore’s Island was tabled by Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Mr. Christie said it was a matter of “extreme importance,” and that the move will guarantee that residents of Moore’s Island now have the title to 464.4 acres of land they now occupy.

However, at least some portion of the property which is proposed to be transferred from the Bahamas Treasury to the Ministry of Housing appears to privately owned, and already has clear title.

Speaking to the Deputy Prime Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis, he said the government “in adopted the approach that we did, our empirical evidence supports that the residences in the settlement of the Bight and Hard Bargain were on land that the title to which was questionable and thus not marketable (not able to be used as collateral).”

He said that because of the resolution the residents will now be able to have good and marketable title to their property.

He added that if “anyone who claims to have ownership to any of the land acquired, the law sets out a process of compensation premised on their producing title that is good and marketable.”

Mr. Davis said as an aside that the fact that a person has “deeds” to property does not necessarily translate to marketable title.

Questions arose as an old survey map showing original grants of property over a hundred years ago indicated that all property in Moore’s Island had been granted to individuals leaving no government owned (or Crown Land) properties on the island.

Over the years as individuals built or squatted on properties across the island clear titles have become difficult to come by as much of the land is disputed. However, the portion of land sitting between Hard Bargain and The Bight which was originally granted to Richardson and John Saunders has a clear succession of title to William Edwards.

There is a conveyance to Mr. William D. Edwards and his brother Dr. Jefferson Edwards in 1959 who would later sell the majority of their property to local Bahamians, with a portion also donated to the Catholic Church. According to one source as many as 58 Bahamians have property with clear title in the proposed area.

It appears that a significant portion of the 464.4 acres belongs to local Moore’s Islanders who have clear title. In fact, those persons are among the only people able to get a mortgage or loan on their property’s title due to the fact of clear succession of ownership titles over the years.

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About Timothy Roberts

Timothy Roberts

Timothy had his first venture into Journalism just months after graduating from Queen’s College in Nassau taking his first job with The Tribune in 1991 leaving in 1992 for other pursuits.

During his time in Nassau he diversified his experiences working as a warehouse manager, locksmith and computer technician before returning to Abaco, a place he has always considered home, in 1999.

He joined the staff of The Abaconian in 2001 doing graphic design and writing an opinion article called Generally Speaking and after a brief time away, returned to The Abaconian in 2010 as a reporter, graphic designer and computer technician.

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