If this government’s long record of corruptly expropriating land for the personal profit and convenience of party members and supporters isn’t enough to strike terror in the hearts of new foreign investors, then Prime Minister Arthur’s recent statement on the Bridgetown Pierhead Project should do the trick.
The Prime Minister has just told the owner of one of the most desirable pieces of land in Barbados “You only thought you owned that land that you’ve been paying taxes on for all these decades. Now that it is so valuable, we declare that our previous contract to develop the area is null and void. Barbados will now own the majority of the asset. And bye the way… Try to find financial backers for your project now that we have announced this, suckers!”
As we have seen many times in the past, Barbados Government land expropriations are always a murky swamp of unanswered questions. It is nothing for a piece of land to be expropriated and then find some time later that a Cabinet Minister has built a home upon it or that the land has been rented out to another business!
Even former Barbados Chief Town Planner Leonard St. Hill confirms that the government often takes land without legal process and without paying the owners anything! (See BFP’s Foreign Investors Watching Barbados – As Former Chief Town Planner Tells The Truth About Government Land Thefts)
The government’s lapdog newspaper The Nation is again spinning the story without asking a single question. The PM vilifies B.S. & T., the owners of the property, tells them the existing contract is null and void and then tells them to find new financial backers. Sure, Mr. Prime Minister: those statements should attract all kinds of stupid international investors willing to sink big money into the project without knowing whether or not the government will take their investment.
By saying what he did and in the manner he said it, the Prime Minister of Barbados just publicly devalued B.S. & T.’s asset – all the better for government to pick it up for a fraction of the real value.
All of this is cloaked in the National Flag of “it is best for the country” while the Government’s friends, supporters and family members move into place for a piece of the action. With no transparency, integrity laws or conflict of interest rules – it is legal for elected and appointed government officials to personally profit from the decisions they make while in office.
International investors aren’t blind to this type of happening, and lately its been happening frequently in Barbados.
Oh… one more thing: the “team” that the PM has appointed to deal with this includes “Instant Millionaire” Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch. Hmmm… I guess we’ll be hearing lots of radio interviews about the project then… (Or maybe not… see Barbados Tourism Minister Storms Off Radio Show – Audio Now Available!)
Here is the article from The Nation News. Pay attention to the tone of the article because it is a masterful piece of propaganda…
GOVERNMENT WILL COMPULSORILY acquire the property to begin the Pierhead Development Project if it has to come to that.
Prime Minister Owen Arthur, speaking at the opening of the Clico Corporate Centre yesterday, said Government had made a decision to become the principal partner in the project and had informed Barbados Shipping & Trading (BS&T) that it intended to develop a new partnership arrangement.
Arthur told the gathering Government had enacted in Parliament the Pierhead Development Act to show the great role the project would play in the development of Bridgetown and Barbados’ economy.
He said Government was often accused of being slow and the private sector fast, but Government had transformed the Old Spirit Bond, the Old Harbour Police Station, and the Boardwalk to make the Pierhead project work while all that had happened on the other
end was that different financial partners had been brought to the table.
Arthur said the conglomerate had assets which were valuable to Barbados.
“Barbados Shipping & Trading owns assets that can be of tremendous strategic importance in the future transformation of the Barbadian society. We will not succeed in taking our country to the next level of development unless we carry out the transformation of our capital City.”
He said Government had worked assiduously with BS&T to see the best beach in Barbados pressed into service and this was one of the reasons for relocating the Coast Guard.
The Prime Minister also said Barbados was being bypassed by yachts because there was no marina in that location.
The company had a right to manage its interest, he said, adding that Government could not remain mum on this issue.
“We have seen this project move from one potential partner to another to another, but what remains constant is its strategic significance to the transformation of Bridgetown . . . within the context of the transformation of the Barbados economy,” said the Prime Minister.
He said Government was making positive steps to address the relationship with BS&T to ensure the project came to fruition.
“We have been seeking to be part of a broader arrangement where Barbados Shipping and Trading will be the lesser partner, and they can go ahead to raise the money.
“Today, Government made a fundamental decision to become the principal partner and if they want to come in they can do so.
“I met with them and indicated that I had appointed a team led by the Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados and including the Senior Minister from The City, the Attorney-General, the Minister of Tourism to see how we can move from where we are, to where we want to be, where that project can come alive to the benefit of The City,” said Arthur.
… read the original article at The Nation News (link here)