Land acquisition and distribution continue to present major challenges for officials and residents of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) as outlined by Councillors at a recent statutory meeting of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).Members of the Region 10 RDC discussing the land distribution issue in the regionThe Regional Executive Officer (REO), Orrin Gordon, in highlighting numerous challenges presently being faced outlined that there are issues with land distribution at Linden as it relates to accessibility for residents, who have demonstrated an interest in agriculture. Gordon explained that in excess of 650 residents have applied for lands in the savanna area with the requirement being for approximately 21,000 acres, however, he stressed that inaccessibility coupled with the timely processing periods are cause for concern.“The problem has to do with the fact that the process is very slow and can lead to frustration …people are getting frustrated at not getting one of the most critical resources required, which would be the land…So we need to have a position on this issue, in terms of making land a lot more easily available…I can’t seem to come to the understanding of how a place with so much land, it is not available to the residents,” Gordon said.Regional Chairman Renis Morian in response said he has sent out letters to President David Granger and Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission Trevor Benn in relation to the issues.“With all the amount of land that we have, we should not be creeping forward. There is an energy building up in the RDC and within the populace to go forward and as you rightfully said, if we don’t release the land that energy could be suffocated”, the Regional Chairman said.Morian added that National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) also has a role to play as it relates to some lands within the region, but explained that he is ahead of the game in terms of writing letters in relation to the issue to which he was expecting a timely response. The Regional Chairman also stressed that this is one of the issues which has led to squatting and other problems.“We should not be going through all of this tribulation – 6555 square miles, we shouldn’t be going through this”, he stressed.Nevertheless, the Regional Chairman said strides are being made in trying to bring the new NICIL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) up to speed with what is happening with regards to land.Additionally, Councillor Charles Sampson supported the position of the RDC on the issue.“It’s been too long in the region that we have been experiencing the situation where ordinary people [have been] experiencing problems to get lands – whether it’s for housing or agricultural purposes. I don’t know but we’ve been trying our best to get the ball rolling in terms of land distribution. You’ve also expressed your levels of frustration based on what the Lands and Surveys people are doing…” the Councillor noted.He also opined that the relevant agencies responsible should communicate to outline the reason for the delays as he stated that there is no excuse.The issue of inaccessibility to land, whether for domestic, agricultural or commercial purposes, has been plaguing the Linden community for years.Only a few months ago Linden poultry farmers expressed concerns over the lack of available land during a consultation with Junior Agriculture Minister Valerie Adams-Yearwood. Some had indicated that they would have applied to the relevant agency, seeking to acquire land for their businesses but did not receive timely assistance. Others had pointed out that they would have been waiting years for their lands to be surveyed.But even as Lindeners are waiting for lands, persons outside of the region have been granted leases for large plots of land in the region. In June, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo called on President David Granger to answer for a massive distribution of prime State lands to certain employees of the Ministry of the Presidency, as well as to cronies in the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) fraction of the coalition Government and officials of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), which were supposed to recover State assets.Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader said it’s quite worrying since a top-ranking official of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) also received land. That land is located at Millie’s Hideout in Linden.