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The unique land tenure problems inherited by Saint Lucia have represented a major constraint for the development of the agricultural sector. They are one of the most important factors preventing the farming community from diversifying production and increasing productivity. Conscious of the complexity of the problem, and cognizant of the far-reaching social and economic impact that possible solutions could have, the Government of Saint Lucia requested technical cooperation from the Organization of American States. This cooperation had two objectives: to undertake the studies required to design feasible technical alternatives and to identify complementary actions capable of taking full advantage of the solution of land tenure problems.

The present report synthesizes the technical studies undertaken during 1981 by a team of national and international specialists working with the Ministry of Agriculture. This work led to the identification, design and evaluation of a pilot project on land registration, the objective of which was to test the feasibility of the technical solutions proposed for the establishment of a land cadaster and the granting of land titles. The pilot project was also designed to enlarge existing knowledge of the multiple constraints affecting the development of the small farming community in Saint Lucia and to investigate the extent of the existing land tenure problems in a fairly representative community. The results obtained from the implementation of the pilot project in 1982-1983 were used in the design of an eight year nation-wide Land Registration and Titling Project to be implemented with financing provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) between 1984 and 1992.

In researching the land tenure problems of Saint Lucia many valuable insights were obtained concerning the natural resource base of the country and the development potential of the agricultural sector. These studies have a value that goes beyond their usefulness for the design and evaluation of solutions to the land tenure problems: they constitute a source of information for policy makers and technicians concerned with other areas of the development effort. Although dated with respect to certain socio-economic factor, the studies contain valuable information on the natural resource base of the country and the many structural characteristics of Saint Lucian society. In consideration of this, the Department of Regional Development is publishing a limited number of the present report, which contains the initial studies of an ongoing technical cooperation project.

As such, the contents of this publication are neither self-contained nor are its specific conclusions final. Rather, they represent the clarification of an important step in the understanding of the development problems of one of the new member states of the Organization. In this effort, the technical staff of the General Secretariat and the international consultants who worked on this project benefited from the support provided by Government officials, who made a substantial and original contribution to the information compiled for this technical cooperation effort.

The results obtained confirm the usefulness of the Department's integrated approach to development planning and implementation in a small country. Carrying out these studies has given the staff of the Department of Regional Development the opportunity to develop a specific approach to the delivery of technical cooperation services in a nation of the English-speaking Caribbean. This experience has provided valuable guidance for the Department's activities in other member states with similar characteristics.

Kirk P. Rodgers - Director - Department of Regional Development

Saint Lucia - Location of Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia - General Reference

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