“There are people whose lands have been acquired on the ABC Highway who haven’t been paid yet . . . and there would be interest accruing and Government would have to pay. But who cares? This is the erosion that I’m talking about and you can’t have order in this country if you’re not going to obey the law.”
While Government was looking to persecute people for non-payment of land tax, “in fact the Government owes $190 million to people whose lands have been acquired…
… (Land acquisition) has been problematic because the procedures are not followed as they are laid down in law. . .”
… Former Barbados Chief Town Planner Leonard St. Hill talking about what amounts to thefts of lands by government.
Former Chief Town Planner Exposes The Corrupt Process That Ends With Ministers Of Government Living On Expropriated Land That Was Never Paid For!
Foreign investors are starting to wake up to the dangers of purchasing land in a country where the government regularly ignores its own laws and expropriates lands without paying a dollar to the owners – lands that often follow a circuitous route to eventually end up in the hands of government officials or their spouses, families and friends.
We who have seen this going on for almost two decades are past being shocked at anything – but the shear scale of expropriation land thefts has reached a point where it is almost impossible to talk about Barbados real estate without touching upon the subject. Real estate professionals and lawyers are torn between protecting their clients and their livelihoods as a corrupted system of land registration makes it virtually impossible in many cases for a buyer to say “I now own this land properly.”
Looking For Land Registration Records In Barbados? Good Luck!
Every country in the civilized world has legal procedures that allow governments to forcibly acquire private lands for the public good. While there are always ongoing debates about procedures, the legitimacy of the reasons for acquiring lands and of course, price, laws are put in place to provide standardised structure and rules to the process. Similarly, many jurisdictions have integrity and transparency legislation in place to deter abuses – and to give citizens legal recourse in the event that some greedy official decides to misuse government powers of expropriation to acquire that nice house lot for, say, his live-in girl friend.
Things are different in Barbados.
We have no integrity legislation or conflict of interest laws – so even if a government official misuses their position for personal gain, no laws are broken.
We have no transparency legislation or freedom of information laws – so even if a citizen has been wronged, it is impossible to pry the evidence from the government records to prove the wrong-doing.
We have a government that has shown time and time again that it disregards the rule of law and ignores what few laws we have – or subverts them for personal and political gain.
We have a land registry that “can’t find” land certain land registration records when such records are inconvenient for the government or friends of government. A registry where inconvenient histories of land ownerships disappear forever… then surface for a few days to facilitate some underhanded deal – and then once again disappear into the void.
Unless, of course, government agents need those land records in the middle of the night to post on the government’s BLP Blog. We’ve seen Land Registry Documents mysteriously appear at 3am on the government BLP Blog!
And when we publicly called upon the news media of Barbados to investigate this 3am internet posting of supposedly secure land records and take the government to task – nothing. Not one word appeared in print, not one second of airtime mentioned such corruption by the Land Registry and the government. (If you care, read our articles: Hell Freezes Over and BLP Blog Posts Land Registry Document and in a comment posted by a BLP supporter “Royal Rumble” who came up with missing Land Application documents at 4:35am! link here. )
Anatomy Of A Land Theft By Government Officials
1/ Selection Of Victim & Land (Of the two, selecting a weak victim is the most important point – the old, the uneducated, children beneficiaries of estates etc.)
2/ Creation of Government Project that requires the targeted land
3/ Cabinet Approval For Land “Acquisition” (euphemism for “Expropriation”)
4/ Land Title Transferred To Government – No Money Paid For Expropriated Land
5/ Victim Told “Don’t Like Not Being Paid? Get A Lawyer, Sucker” (Of course, the letter says it more gently!)
6/ Original Project Provided As Reason For Expropriation Is Delayed – Sometimes for a decade or more.
7/ Victim cannot sell other nearby lands as expropriation has killed buyer interest. Victim often falls behind on taxes for remaining lands and government vultures circle with even more interest.
8/ Meanwhile, government has still not paid for the land seized years ago.
9/ If chosen correctly, victim is now either dead from old age, or bankrupt and ruined.
10/ Expropriated land is then partially used for some other government project, or not used at all.
11/ All or remaining parts of the Expropriated Lands are sold off to private buyers – who just happen to be relatives, friends or business associates of the government officials who expropriated the land.
12/ Sales of expropriated lands are pre-arranged quietly – often with no advertising or open bids.
13/ If any questions are asked, the Land Registry cooperates and destroys or “misplaces” land transfer records.
That is how it is done in Barbados, folks! And that is why even retired persons who purchase brand new builders’ homes never really know if they own their home properly or not!
A note to our retired friends from Britain and America who are considering purchasing property in Barbados…
Don’t worry folks . . . if you run into a problem, you can always hire a lawyer to sue the builder or the person who transferred the shaky title – or even the government that corruptly expropriated the land in the first place.
And don’t worry about the fact that the Chief Justice of Barbados used to be part of that same government, and that he was appointed by his old drinkin’ buddy, the Prime Minister who approved the expropriation! Nope… doan you worry cause everything gonna be just fine!
Nice House, Mr. Government Minister! Where Are The Land Registry Records?
One of our most popular series on political corruption began with our September 5, 2006 post Barbados Government Minister Gline Clarke – House and Mercedes On Expropriated Land.
Now, Barbados Free Press can inform its readers that our enquiries have shown that the historical land documents pertaining to Minister Clarke’s home are “unavailable” to members of the public.
The documents appear to have been misfiled.
What a coincidence!