Culled article: The Exclusive newspaper ran an Op-Ed in its January 7th, edition capturing the current takes on land matters not excluding how much the minister of lands is handling the very situation.
Like the late Dr. Bobson Sesay who sought to rigidly enforce a national land planning and management regime, particularly in the Western Area that is notorious for land grabbing, the name Dr. Denis Sandy does not sound as sweet music in the ears of many bent to bastardize land affairs.
It is not surprising that since his return to the Lands ministry as its political head under the no-nonsense Bio led ‘New Direction’ government, Dr. Denis Sandy has incurred the wrath of many who knew that with his appointment, it would no longer be business as usual.
Indeed, it is no longer business as usual in the Lands ministry and from within and outside, there are many who pray for, as well as plot Dr. Denis Sandy’s downfall.
What his detractors and sworn enemies need to know is that the last thing Dr. Sandy fears is his sacking by his boss who if had no confidence in his integrity and ability to revolutionize the chaotic lands ministry would not have in the first place appointed him.
A committed disciple of the ‘New Direction’ doctrine of zero tolerance to corruption and mismanagement of state resources and assets, since Dr. Sandy took over the lands ministry, thousands of relieved genuine land owners across the length and breadth of the Western Area are full of praises for his interventions on their behalf in reclaiming what rightfully belongs to them that had been dubiously taken over by land grabbers.
What we should understand is that reformers throughout the ages have not been loved. In fact, in many instances, they have been hated to the point of been persecuted and even murdered. It could be recalled that during the days of Dr. Bobson Sesay as lands minister, a lands ministry surveyor was brutally murdered at Hill Station as the ministry sought to reclaim lands from grabbers. In the same way, late last year at Morgayba in the Charlotte axis, Dr. Sandy and some lands ministry officials were set upon by hooligans hired by land grabbers; a matter which is in the court for hearing with two of the principal protagonists still on the run. Mindful of this, Dr. Sandy moves with state security officials when he goes to reclaim expropriated state lands.
Dr. Sandy’s job is not one that he should be envied for. The forces pitted against him are many and formidable. The only thing that prevents them from vanquishing him is his resolve and belief in the fact that evil can never triumph over good.
What Dr. Sandy has set out to do falls within the purview of the ‘New Direction’ government’s mandate of bringing sanity into land management and administration; given that for donkey years the ministry had been run by a well organized gang of criminals working hand in glove with land grabbers.
Within the ministry, there have been officials who point land grabbers to state lands. Outside are fixers and fake surveyors who perform all kinds of forgery to dispossess people of their lands with what are clearly falsified documents purportedly issued by the ministry and approved by the director of lands. Clearing, such an Augean stable has been Dr. Sandy’s first remarkable success in transforming the ministry into a transparent accountable entity.
Another remarkable success of the ministry has been the minister’s ability to easily and quickly verify ownership of disputed properties by ascertaining the genuineness of the documents shown by the disputants. He notes that some people go as far as cutting and pasting the signature of the director of lands and survey on their falsified documents.
So it is that when Dr. Sandy was invited by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to verify some contested land issues, his enemies quickly spread the word that he had been arrested by the ACC for corruption. In a radio interview last week, Dr. Sandy laughed off the propaganda and called for his enemies to present proof of the evidence of corruption that they have against him. “Not an iota of such evidence can be found anywhere,” Dr. Sandy said.
Meanwhile, because of his no-nonsense uncompromising stance towards protection and retrieval of state lands in the Western Area, Dr. Sandy’s popularity has spread like a bush fire in harmattan, with many encouraging him to keep up the good work and not be in any way deterred or distracted by enemies of the state and its people for their selfish ends.