The Issue Is Not Land – The Issue Is Secret Land Deals, Political Corruption And Zero Accountability

BLP Spin Machine In Overdrive – Over Land Issues

For at least the last four weeks, the Barbados Labour Party has been pulling out all the stops to head off any serious discussion of the real issues surrounding land ownership and useage in Barbados.

The BLP spin tactic is to focus upon three areas: 1/ The economic necessity and wisdom of selling land to foreign investors. 2/ That there is lots of land left for Bajans. 3/ How great a job the BLP has done, and is doing, in providing cheap (ie: subsidized with public funds) land and housing to lower-income Bajans.

We see the Prime Minister publically “kicking butt” of housing contractors who are behind schedule, other Ministers talking about how much land there is for everyone, letters to newspaper editors from government supporters – and an old Government Minister saying that all the Opposition Party concern about land is just a “political football” and hardly worth talking about.

Not mentioned at all by the BLP are the two most important and contentous factors surrounding land ownership, use and sale in Barbados:

1/ The complete lack of accountability and transparency for those public officials who make multi-million dollar land decisions in secret.

2/ The fact that Barbados has no conflict of interest laws or integrity legislation anyway – so even if public officials’ pockets benefit from their decisions, nothing can be done.

The system is corrupt, and the ruling government does not want to change it.

Don’t be fooled by all the razzle-dazzle this weekend at the BLP conference. Keep thinking about those million-dollar land deals made in secret, and the fact that neither the Prime Minister nor anyone else involved in the secret decisions has to declare their assets…

And even if they do line their own pockets, or if their family members or “special lady friends” happen to do “consulting” work for government suppliers where the payment goes into an offshore account… it is not illegal.

In 12 years of power, Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s government has failed to make such unethical behaviour illegal.

Transparency? Accountability? Integrity and Conflict of Interest Legislation?

Not on Owen Arthur’s watch.

Smoke and Mirrors from the Nation News…

BLP To Address Contentious Issues At Conference

THE current contentious issues of land, public transportation, housing and consumer protection matters will be high on the agenda when the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) holds its 68th annual general conference this weekend.

Additionally, all six party officers including chairman and political leader Prime Minister, Owen Arthur have been nominated unopposed, but BLP officials yesterday debunked suggestions the two day event at Harrison College was an “election conference”, and the last before General Elections are called.

The theme for this year’s conference, which is expected to attract between 500 and 600 delegates, is Continuing to Make Life Better in Barbados.

Speaking during a media briefing at BLP headquarters Roebuck Stress, conference chairman Senator Rudy Grant, said: “We have decided on the first day of the conference to focus on issues relating to land. On that first day there will be a video presentation, which will detail what as a party we have been doing to facilitate land and to facilitate providing that for Barbadians, so that the lives of Barbadians could be enriched and made better.”

He said day one would have presentations by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Mia Mottley, in her capacity as Minister responsible for the Urban Development Commission UDC. Also making presentations will be Minister of Housing and Lands Reginald Farley and Minister of Social Transformation, Trevor Prescod.

Grant, who is Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, said there would be range of issues presented in the form of resolutions to be discussed including public transport, housing, consumer protection issues.

As for the election of the party executive, which will take place on day one, Grant said apart from Arthur, General Secretary, Dr. William Duguid and Treasurer Senator Tyrone Barker would be unopposed. The same stood for Minister of Labour and the Civil Service Rawle Eastmond, first vice-chairman; Minister of Health Dr. Jerome Walcott; and Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development Senator, Lynette Eastmond.

The conference chairman said the issue of land was chosen to be discussed because it was one of the topics on the minds and lips of the public.

“There are individuals in Barbados who consider the issue of land to be important and it is an issue that we thought we would bring to the fore and we would discuss fully, and we would highlight for the public what we have been doing over the last 12 years of this administration,” he said.

Duguid said while individuals were free to speculate, the two day conference was not an election one.

“As far as I am aware the constitutionally due election will be…due in 2008. So that would mean that if nothing else the last election conference would be 2007 and not the 2006. Surely you are allowed to speculate as anybody else is allowed to speculate. You are entitled to your speculation but you are not entitled to your facts and the facts are at this present time that this is not an election conference,” according to him.

The first day of the event will opened with an entertainment prelude, and both days will have devotions by Reverend Angela Phillips and Pastor Anderson Kellman respectively.

While the expected “high point” of the second day will be an address by the Prime Minister, said this year would also feature a booth where people could have blood pressure and cholesterol checks. The Barbados Prison Service and UDC will also have booths.

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14 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

14 responses to “The Issue Is Not Land – The Issue Is Secret Land Deals, Political Corruption And Zero Accountability

  1. ross

    It has been and will continue to be more of the same.

    ‘s see what the opposition will do now. This is the true test.

  2. Green!

    The Opposition is only more of the same.
    Give them three terms,too
    and watch the very same behaviour.
    All politicians are here to get rich from the public purse. Full stop.
    Oh sure they talk about representing the people, but only after having their fill, first.
    Every single one of them is the same.

    I trust politicians about as much as I trust lawyers.
    Oh wait, very often they’re one and the same! What an odd coincidence!

  3. Rumplestilskin

    NEW POLITICAL STRUCTURE:

    An alternative to the current mode of Parliamentary system is a type of non-party, elected representive system as follows:

    – each constituency, (as per now) has an elected official

    – each official must lobby, advocate in the Government for actions beneficial for the constituency and the Nation as a whole. The majority Government vote carries the motion.

    – the Government will have a term of three years before each election

    – at the same time as the new election, the populace will vote as to the constituent representative who has performed least admirably and without benefit to the Nation

    – such chosen representative will be the ‘sacrifice’ for that Government, who shall be errr …executed for his / her failings

    – this method of choosing the representative with the worst record will ensure two things:

    1) Only those REALLY interested in representing the Nation for its best interests will come forward
    2) those who are elected will have incentive (albeit negative) to perform in the best interests of the Nation

    What do you think?

    …just kidding…no offense to the goodly ladies and gents….. tongue in cheek….

  4. Green!

    Rumple..
    Sounds good, although execution is a bit drastic.
    Think along the lines of ‘merely’ losing a little finger, which would serve as a reminder for life,
    and not greatly debilitating like how losing a head would be…
    Yes, I like your Incentive approach.

  5. Hants

    High rise housing for Barbados
    Tuesday, 31 October 2006

    Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll says Barbados’ dilemma of limited land space and high demand for housing could be solved by high-rise buildings.

    He says, as is being done with flyovers, housing needs to be allowed to go higher to increase capacity.

    There is the solution to the land crisis. Me? I keeping my bungalow.

  6. Hants

    http://www.cbc.bb
    “High rise housing for Barbados
    Tuesday, 31 October 2006

    Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll says Barbados’ dilemma of limited land space and high demand for housing could be solved by high-rise buildings.

    He says, as is being done with flyovers, housing needs to be allowed to go higher to increase capacity.”

    There is the solution to the land crisis. Is this a BLP or DLP solution? Ask Maaaaaaaasscoll.

  7. Rumplestilskin

    Alla de rich can keep their bungalows…..until we compulsorily aquire for condos…

    De res o we can live in de highcrime-rise.

  8. Jane

    “high-rise buildings” for housing? He is joking, right? This is 166 sq. mile Barbados.

    We need to know that there are sound foreign exchange earners other than toursm which will save us from borrowing ourselves into the ground.

    Read the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and pray without ceasing.

  9. Littleboy56@caribsurf.com

    What ever happened to the land bank?is it bankrupt like the country and the Government?

  10. John

    Why do we have a housing crisis when our birth rate is falling (and has been for years) and our population barely growing?

    Are these houses for foreigners or is the crisis one of imagination?

    … or just an excuse to convert arable land to dollars?

    Who are we building all these houses for?

  11. Rumplestilskin

    Not for the average local, how can we afford houses and condos at US$600K and up?

    Apparently we are going after the ‘big dollar’ earners to buy a stake in here, and thus have ‘guaranteed future income streams re holidays & maintenance.

    Certainly the big Real Estate guys will earn pots, from sales AND management fees each month.

    Maybe a garden service, a maid and the food wholesalers, wine merchants.

    Some money without doubt. I have no problem trying to create a high-end tourism sector, but NOT at the expense of quality of life for the average Barbadian (re high land prices).

    The problem is, the equation has filliped. Instead of targeting small land area condo developments to the foreign part-time residents, and leaving the larger area land for locals, it looks as if the large land area will be for the ‘gold & entertainment’ developments and the small area, ‘high-rise’ for locals.

    A recipe for disaster. Locals being corralled into small area housing, not even a 1,500 sq foot with a chattel house and your own backyard (as a minimum).

    Toegther with restricted beach access, locals going feel like a lot of bats in a cave.

    Not good, this model.

    Get some sort of tourist development built but not over huge land tracts, preferably REGENERATE the Hotel Industry which is dying (or dead?)apart from Sandy Lane, which is in a class of its own. This will get a real number of better quality, more stable jobs than golf/condo developments.

    Thompson is right about land zoning re tourist areas, industrial areas, local residential.

    But then, alla dat money can’t be made by the big guns, real estate gurus, including agents etc. (unless they really use ingenuity and provide intelligently designed concepts, rather than just ravage the local land holdings for sell-off which is the easy way).

    By the way, all of this talk about foreign income from land sales?

    How much do you really think comes into Barbados? I believe that most gets paid into overseas accounts of developers (particulalry those who are non-Nationals) rather than deposited here.

    How much is being generated in this industry by non-National developers, for their own coffers? Should it not be National developers, sponsored by local commercial banks?

    There is a whole lot wrong with this income ‘circle’ re who profits from the sale of Barbados land.

    Non-National (and some) national developers, real estate agents make a fistful, specific contractors only.

    The money is being shared in a circle, how much comes out of that circle and how much actually comes INTO BARBADOS?

  12. John

    What is the purpose of providing free tertiary education if the assets of the island are being sold to overseas interests to create jobs which are probably not suitable to graduates?

    Isn’t there a fundamental conflict and won’t it lead to strife in the long run?

  13. vivienne

    Isn’t there some way of generating business income which also benefits the local community? Some of us (currently foreign) investors would love to toe both lines. Not all investors are money grabbing swine. Some of us just want to make a living and have a good way of life on the islands(pending!) and would love to feel we were putting something back in return.
    If anyone knows how this can be achieved, I’d love to participate.

    Contacet vin2216@aol.com

  14. Anonymous

    It will be interesting to read the blog on Mullins Bay and see what is happening to our beaches.

    Oh my fair Barbados whither goest thou?