Foreign Investors Watching Barbados – As Former Chief Town Planner Tells The Truth About Government Land Thefts

“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.”

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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!

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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!

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17 Comments

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

17 responses to “Foreign Investors Watching Barbados – As Former Chief Town Planner Tells The Truth About Government Land Thefts

  1. BFP- Don’t you think Leonard St Hill deserves an accolade for his forthright public statement on a scandalous practice which you have repeatedly highlighted?

    He did not call Kingsland Estate by name, but surely this must be the most extreme example?

    Land acquisition by Government should be reserved for “in extremis” situations where the common good is at stake, such as at a dangerous road intersection. In each case there should be a machinery for establishing the urgency of such an acquisition rather than doing it “in camera”, where there is no public scrutiny or room for appeal.

    We have seen too many cases where land acquisition is suspicious or blatantly unjust to suffer them any more.

    Transparency- Integrity- Accountability

    Long overdue!

  2. pandora says (among many others including BFP)
    “Transparency- Integrity-Accountability”

    I can already see the bumper stickers-

    “GIVE US T.I.A.- NOT MIA!”

  3. D'Arts

    Could you guys stop putting the dudes house on the internet, sheesh.

  4. BFP

    D’Arts says “Could you guys stop putting the dudes house on the internet, sheesh.”

    Sure D’Arts, we promise we won’t do it anymore – just as soon as Minister Clarke explains just how it was that his government expropriated the land and then he built a house on it – in a housing project that his Ministry put together. Oh yeah – and we’d like the “misfiled” historical land registration documents “found” again so we can have some transparency and accountability in the process.

    No problem at all!

    Just as soon as that happens, we’ll remove all photos!

  5. paul sealy

    owen and crew doing the puppy in bartown….don’t worry people..the Lord ain’t sleeping.

  6. Jerome Hinds

    BFP

    Do not REMOVE a single photo !

    The TRUTH is what we are about.

    The Scoundrels and skullduggery must be EXPOSED.

  7. Rumplestilskin

    I have always read Mr.St.Hill’s articles with interest.

    One of the few columnists/ activists/commentators who writes to the point, intelligent material and a man with much experience.

    Now, why isn’t THIS man a Senator???

    I personally believe that the Senate should be elected also, when we elect the Ministers. Just another spot on the ballot.

    An independent Senate would contribute to improving accountability.

  8. D'Arts

    The Scoundrels and skullduggery must be EXPOSED.

    hahahahahahah

  9. Justasking

    Mr. St Hill desreves a medal for his contribution to public discourse . Can anyone ever remember anything he has said being contradicted by those in authority? By other private professionals?

    He is one of the few professional people who speaks out on issues relevant to his expertise and most importantly he speaks to and on the issues and not personalities.

    Wish there were more like him.

  10. sage

    Are the people at the Nation newspaper finally waking up?

    Well done, Mr. St Hill!

  11. De Orginal

    Well done Mr St Hill let Royal rumble produce a document disproving your position.

  12. Kathy

    Mr. St. Hill is an honourable man. One in a million. What has happened to Barbados? The politicians have no shame!

  13. paul sealy

    why should they have shame Kathy,these educated criminals know that bajan’s are passive goats who would hear about their wrong doings,get detailed fact’s,but yet meet them down in front of parliament and give them a hug and a kiss,do you want it any better than that in a land of passive goats….tell me???

  14. Pingback: Barbados Auditor General: Owen Arthur – Mia Mottley Government stole land and profits from the people of Barbados « Barbados Free Press

  15. onlyme

    Read HABAKKUK.

  16. Pingback: Land expropriation in Barbados – A history of non-payment when government takes your land! « Barbados Free Press

  17. Syn

    Personally I feel that if somebody come long and build pun my land and ain tell me nuttin I would blow it up or knock it down – if I got a title that says it is mine – and you ain got nuh papers where it say I gi’ you my land then you build pun my land and whaever you build gots to go – le somebody build pun my lan’ and don’t tell me nuttin – buy shares in the gas company cause if I caan build pun it i gine be bitter as shite and nuttin caan build pun it – they would got fires they EVERY NIGHT – check the arson laws of buhbados – caan do me nuttin – stop worrying bout the laws we ain got and use the ones we got to stop the foolishness ya self – bet ya gline clarke wun got nuh more woman if the house keep ketchin a fyah – quick so the man would get back he land – if the wheels moving in the worng direction sometimes ya have to reverse them ya self to stop them from running over yuh.