This month’s land expropriation victim is Mr. Rawle Mason
The Barbados government has a long history of expropriating privately-owned land and then not paying the owners. Here, we call it “compulsory acquisition” but most of the world knows the process as “expropriation“. In most civilized countries there are laws and protocols in place to prevent abuse of the process through politicians coming into personal possession of, or profiting from, lands the government expropriated.
Barbados has no such laws to protect property owners.
In 2007, former Barbados Chief Town Planner Leonard St. Hill revealed that the land owners were owed almost $200 million for land the Barbados government took from them for “public purposes”. That’s 200 million dollars of land that the Barbados government expropriated but never paid for!
Don’t be mislead by the term “public purposes” because as former Government Minister Gline Clarke proved, it’s nothing for a politician to expropriate private land for “public housing” and then – POOF!!! – a year or two later the same politician is living in a house built on that same land his government expropriated!
The American or British press wouldn’t stand for such a thing. In Britain those television trucks would be camped out in front of the politician’s home, blocking his driveway and demanding answers. In Barbados, however, the regular news media hasn’t mentioned Minister Clarke’s story in four years – which tells you something about press freedom and political control of the news media in Barbados.
Yet another land owner abused by the Barbados government
This month’s victim of land expropriated by government and not paid for is Mr. Rawle Mason. The government took his land 15 years ago for a road and never paid him.
Yup… that’s right folks… the BLP took Mr. Mason’s land 15 years ago and he’s been waiting for payment ever since. They want to pay him a fraction of the true value, and the government claims he agreed to the sale and the price 15 years ago even though he never heard about it until after it was completed!
Isn’t that special?
Nope. Not in the least.
Mr. Mason’s story is just the latest in a long line of similar events. In Barbados there are no rules prohibiting politicians from profiting by their offices, so these scandals happen regularly… not that anything is done about them.
Barbados property investors beware!
Here are some Barbados land expropriation scandals from the past few years, followed by the latest story involving Mr. Mason. Once again as is our practice, we encourage our readers to not believe Barbados Free Press. That’s right… don’t believe a word we say. Go out and do your own research online and your own due diligence about land expropriations in Barbados. Read some old stories, talk to people who were mentioned in the newspapers. Call them up and see what happened. Call up the politicians and ask them.
Then make up your own mind and what happens to some poor souls on this rock. They work hard and buy a piece of land. Maybe they have foresight and purchase a lot that they think will become more valuable because of its location or features… and then along comes a few politicians who expropriate the land and personally profit from doing so.
Don’t think that happens here?
Published on: 5/28/2010.
BY MARIA BRADSHAW
RAWLE MASON IS FUMING. Fifteen years after Government acquired a portion of his land at Supers Land in St Philip, he is still awaiting compensation.
The elderly man believes the Government is dragging its feet.
Mason recalled a relative telephoning him back in 1999, when he was hospitalised in England, to let him know the Government had taken land of his, as well as of his daughter’s, for the building of a road.
That new roadway from Supers Land to College Savannah in St John was being built because the original road from Supers had collapsed.
Mason said he was shocked by the news and on his return to Barbados sought out the Ministry of Transport and Works. But after dealing with a senior official there “for a few years”, he concluded he was getting nowhere, and hired a lawyer.
There was a flood of letters between his attorney and the Solicitor General’s Office. One such informed him his land had been acquired through private treaty – a process that allows individuals to negotiate with the Government and sell at a price that both agree to.
But Mason wants to know how his land could have been acquired by this method without any consultation with him.
However, last year he received an offer by the Government, which he rejected, stating that it did not reflect the market value.
The 75-year-old man explained that the Town Planning Department surveyed the land on behalf of the Government, valuing the acquired piece at $12 700.
“They undervalued my land. They valued it at $6 a square foot; and if I was selling that land, I would not sell it for less than $25 a square foot,” Mason stated.
He has since had an independent valuation that came in at $17 254.
Mason said that since making his counter-offer to the Government, he had not heard “anything more”.
“I am frustrated,” he cried. “I put the matter in court, and they asked me to withdraw it, so that they can make a settlement. And up to now nothing has happened.”
The senior citizen said he was also upset because he could not now fulfil his plans to build apartments on his property.
“It’s now too small to do anything with.”
In addition, Mason firmly believes the Government put the road in the wrong place.
He pointed out that the old road had collapsed because it was built over a cave – the same cave, he said, the new road was now stretched across.
Mason charged that the road had been showing signs of destabilisation “at an area of descent that is deepening”.
I was unable to reach Solicitor General Jennifer Edwards for a comment on this matter.