Dominica Bar Association rejects government ‘reduction in fees associated with land transfer for the buyer or receiver’

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Dominica Bar Association President, Heather Felix-Evans (left) and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

By Caribbean News Global contributor

ROSEAU, Dominica – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Budget-Address-2020_21-July-28-2020-1 – subtitle – Reduction in Land Transfer fees, stated: “For a period of one year, that is from September 1, 2020, to August 31, 2021, the fees related to transfer or purchase of land will be as follows:

  • Stamp Duty 2 percent
  • Judicial Fee 1 percent
  • Assurance Fund 1 percent
  • Fee to Lawyers A maximum of 1 ½ percent

“The total of 5 ½ percent on the value of the property will be paid by the buyer instead of the 10 ½ percent which is currently payable. This … will result in a 48 percent reduction in fees associated with land transfer for the buyer or receiver. The fee payable by the sellers of these properties will remain at 2 ½ percent,” prime minister Skerrit said.

This, however, has received a retort from the Dominica Bar Association, president, Heather Felix-Evans, in a letter to prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit, dated August 10, 2020:

“In the circumstances the DBA rejects unreservedly this unilateral alteration of its fees by the government, without prior consultation. In the spirit of respectful resolution, the executive of the DBA requests an urgent meeting with you within the next seven days to address and hopefully satisfactorily resolve this most pressing matter.” 

DBA-Letter-to-the-Prime-Minister

The government of Dominica in pursuing – The road to Dynamic Dominica: Fostering economic resilience, stated:

“Government realizes that several persons own land but are not in possession of a certificate of title, as they have difficulty in paying the taxes associated with the transfer.

“There are also several vacant and quite often, prime properties which are in a state of abandonment across Dominica. Many of those have been willed to family members who are unable to divide and register these properties in their names, simply because they do not have the required financial resources. We are also aware that several Dominicans, particularly young people, would like to own a piece of Dominica, and any assistance received from government would help to make that possible.

“We urge our citizens here and abroad to take advantage of the temporary reduction of these rates. Additional staff will be reassigned to the Registry as needed to facilitate quicker processing of these titles. We expect these provisions to provide greater opportunity for property ownership and formalization of that ownership. The provisions will be particularly helpful to young people, couples or families looking to own their first home.

Dominica: Housing the Nation

Also, on the Road to Dynamic Dominica – Fostering Economic Resilience – the government is commitment to housing the nation, “unparalled anywhere in the world,” explained as follows:

“We have continued to transform and improve the housing conditions of thousands of our citizens. The people of Dynamic Dominica will be properly housed, and our national housing and property stock will be amongst the highest quality and most hurricane resilient in the Caribbean.”

“As we accelerate the Housing [the Nation] programme in fiscal year 2020/21, the ministry of housing and urban development will receive an allocation of $117.4 million. This includes funding of $25 million from the World Bank under the Housing Recovery Project, and 10.6 million in grant funding, from the European Union. The latter is designated to construct 50 resilient homes in the Kalinago Territory. The tender process has commenced, and award of contract is expected soon. I would like to once again place on record, the gratitude of the government and people of Dominica to the European Union, for this grant.”

Over 450 homes will also be built across the island, with proceeds from the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBIP). 

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