Kammie Holder asks the Barbados Government: “What happened to the promised two-thirds vote needed for land use changes?”

Barbados Agriculture Minister Haynesley Benn

What happen to the two third vote needed for change of land usage?

This left left a bitter taste in my mouth for the Minister of Agriculture who behaves like the Deputy Minister of Housing. Mr Benn, you totally disrespected Dr. Chandler yesterday in the senate and you know what I am talking about. Dr. Chandler’s heart is in agriculture and she is Barbadian and has a right to be concerned about the lost of arable land to housing. Parliamentary privilege can be used to attack me, a concerned citizen, if you wish!

Kammie Holder

Letter from Dr. Frances Chandler to Senator Haynesley Benn

Minister Benn,

Having heard the comments during yesterday’s debate made by you , Senator McClean (it is unlikely that this land would be used for agriculture) and Senator Ince (these two parcels are not viable agricultural land) regarding the Brighton land being acquired by government, I feel obliged to clarify the matter, since in my opinion, the impression has been given that I have presented inaccurate information.

These two plots of land being acquired are portions of fields that have been in agriculture for centuries. I have attached photographs of the two fields where the strips are being acquired.

For your further information, Brighton was initially approached regarding the acquisition of part of a field near the plantation yard which was irrigable and used for vegetable production. Bearing in mind government’s thrust to produce more food, Brighton lodged an objection which was accepted, and government then requested these two plots, which the plantation agreed to, albeit under duress.  Brighton, in my opinion, is one of the best (if not the best) managed and most efficient producers  of sugarcane and vegetables in the island.

The most westerly plot (photograph 001 above) is a 1.85 acre  portion of a 14 acre field called “Barrows”. In 2006, the plant cane in this field yielded 33 tons/acre. In 2009, as a 4th ratoon it was ploughed out, and the field (apart from the 1.85 acres which government informed would be acquired) was replanted in cane in October 2009. In the photograph above, the plant cane cane be seen on the left and the strip which has been left fallow after the notice of the acquisition is at right.

The more easterly plot is a 1.93 acre portion  (photograph 004 above) of an 8 acre field called “Upper Montrose”. This field was planted in cane in 2007 and the first crop gave 35 tons/acre when reaped in 2009. It was badly affected by the severe drought in 2009 and gave 21 tons/acre when reaped this year (below the estimated 26 tons/acre). The ratoon crop presently in the field is progressing well, and will be reaped in 2011.

I trust that you now have a better understanding of the plots being acquired. Is it possible that your officers took you to the wrong location?

Regards,
Frances Chandler.

17 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Environment, Politics

17 responses to “Kammie Holder asks the Barbados Government: “What happened to the promised two-thirds vote needed for land use changes?”

  1. Eat Cake

    If you think this is ridiculous then what about the 180 acres of agricultural land that will be lost in the North of the island to make way for a massive development planned by North Ridge Development Company Ltd?

    What is Mr. Benn’s and the Ministry of Agriculture’s official position on that development?

    The PM made a ministerial statement in parliament and the way it was reported was that the application was approved and the project was scheduled to commence this year on land at Pickering St. Lucy.

    Yes, development is needed in the North and the component of the development that proposes town and community centre facilities etc seems reasonable on an area of 4-5 acres. However the Physical Development Plan makes no mention of any development of this magnitude that changes the use of 180 acres of agricultural land.

    In fact the PDP says that any change of use of agricultural land over 10 hectares (25 acres) requires an amendment to the plan. Is that in the works or are they going to do it after the fact?

    http://beta.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/pick-of-st-lucy/

  2. Grace

    There seems to be little thought by the government about their HELP programme. Just look at the high rise at Country Road. I cannot understand how the Town and Country Planning Department could have given permission for so much people to be living in that confined land space. What about recreational facilities, car parks. What we are perhaps creating is a ghetto similar to Tivoli Gardens. Then there is the Coverly development, I wonder how many of these politicians who drive around in their SUV’s would live in these houses they are constructing for poor people.

  3. Eat Cake:
    The answer is in your last ‘statement/question’.
    What saddens me is the fact that both parties preach one thing while in opposition and pratice another when in power and we all still cannot see beyond the ‘politricks’.
    Once the land is scrape of its fertile soil, we cannot go back. Often someone comes up with a big plan which sounds fine at the time. Those plans are hardly being thought out. No one seems to have done his research so as to note the environmental damage those projects would do.
    The big brains behind those projects are in it for the money; the negative impact of such projects are often overlooked.
    Some projects might provide a few jobs but are they sustainable?
    We should be preserving every piece of arable land we have in order to grow some of the things we now have to import.

    Grace says,
    “There seems to be little thought by the gov…..”
    You are so right! Not only the government but all those involved in planning decisions.
    One only has to look at USA and the EU to see, read and learn about the problems associated with ‘High Rise buildings’ for living accomodations.
    There will be no different from those countries who have gone that route…. ‘multi-storey buildings for habitation’.
    Research, research, discusions discusions; give the locals and the wider community a say in decision process and listen carefully to the little man.
    The ‘pickering project’ is a ‘folly’ of the man from the north.
    Where is the money coming from? I will leave it to the readers to mention those projects with brilliant ideas and have died or are dying for lack of funds.
    Wake up ministers, open your eyes, disaster is in the making.

  4. We all need to attend James Paul’s Constituency Meeting tomorrow at Ellerslie by St Stephen’s Hill, 4:00 pm

  5. Prince of Barbados

    Does any one if a website exist where i can watch this debate?

  6. Prince of Barbados/Bajan Prince

    Maybe if the protection of Barbados’s coastal land had been made a priority form the get go, coastal housing development could have been allowed as to make sure that agricultural land wouldn’t be touched. Unfortunately, current and previous governments have showed to be very greedy and inconsiderate thus allowing Barbados to severely overdevelop itself into a land scarce country. Agricultural land should be protected because the thing that is just as important as stable housing is food. An abundance of agricultural land allows Barbados to grow its own food rather than import food. This in turn lowers Barbados’s food bill. Agricultural land that is no longer in use SHOULDN’T be put into housing but instead SHOULD be used to house significant food crops.

  7. Donald Duck Esq,

    IB

    Why do we need to attend James Paul’s meeting? He can’t overrule his bosses on this matter.

  8. Anonymous

    @Grace

    Then there is the Coverly development, I wonder how many of these politicians who drive around in their SUV’s would live in these houses they are constructing for poor people.
    __________________________________

    Poor people! Have you seen how much these “starter houses” are going to cost? Up and around $300,000!

  9. I will go, and deliver my findings subsequemtly

  10. Donald Duck Esq,

    Remind Mr Paul of the following DLP promises and ask him if they have delivered so far

    The DLP in their manifesto promised to:
     Make access to government services more convenient to the public by: Increasing access locations, e.g. the use of multi service departments, The use of technology, e.g. telephone, internet, credit cards
     Facilitate commercial and industrial development in country areas
     Increase the availability of government services in places outside Bridgetown
     Facilitate and support the development of town centres in major residential areas
     Review the country’s traffic management systems with a view to improving the flow on major highways
     Improve public transportation with a view to encouraging its wider use
     Encourage the use of flexi-time by businesses and in the public service
     Introduce legislation, programmes and facilities like mechanization to get young people into agriculture.
     Introduce legislation that makes it mandatory that any change of zoning of land be approved by Parliament.
     Introduce amendments to the Land Acquisition Act that will require government to pay compensation on the replacement value rather than the market value of properties being acquired.
     Provide a subsidy of $2.50 per sq ft to first time landowners with lots up to 5000 sq ft throughout urban and rural Barbados. This policy will go beyond the tenantry land transfer scheme.
     Require all land transactions be registered with the Land Registry Department. This will speed up transfer of titles and compilation of the land register.
     Make it compulsory that all land for sale in major developments be advertised with prices on the local market prior to promotion and sale on the international market to non-Barbadians. Proof of advertising must be supplied when applying for transfer to non-Barbadian interests.
     Give maximum support to all organizations committed to environmental preservation.

    Of great importance are the following two promises you need to get him to answer.
     In the first 100 days the DLP promised to introduced the Agriculture Protection Act that will require a 2/3 majority of both houses of parliament for a change of use of land from agriculture.
     They promised to reserve 30, 000 acres for agricultural use.

  11. Donald Duck Esq,

    Readers should note that the 2003 Physical Development Plan stated in the introduction that

    “The Physical Development Plan Amended 2003, policies seek to ensure sufficient land use levels to meet Barbados’ export market and current levels of domestic production, translating into the need for approximately 18,000 hectares (45,000 acres) in agricultural use, of which 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) would be under cultivation of sugar and1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) for cotton, Agriculture presently occupies approximately 53,275 acres, of which it is estimated that approximately 10,000 is fallow.

    Compare and contrast this policy with a statement made in early 2008 by Prime Minister Thompson in New York with the land use policy enunciated by the DLP in the Throne Speech delivered in 2008.

    Tony Best reported in the Nation Newspaper on June 24, 2008 that Prime Minister Thompson sent a strong message to landowners and others to forget about taking arable agricultural land suitable for food production and turning it into housing development. He reported that Thompson went on to add that the Government intends to set an example by returning some of its own land to agriculture.

    Whereas in the Throne speech the acting Governor General said “On a larger canvas, my Government’s land use policies and the need to save agriculture, are part of the commitment to preserve the natural environment. It will therefore introduce the Agriculture Protection Act that will require a 2/3 majority of both Houses of Parliament for a change of use of land from agriculture. At least 30, 000 acres of land will be reserved for agricultural use

  12. Johnny Postle

    Who will stop the plunder of our lands and the rape of our treasury. WHO WHO??. I said I would not comment about anything politicians are doing in this country because they are still doing it and getting rich in the process. Makes no sense because all we are planning to do is just write on the blogs. The Postle who is a Johnny will no longer be writing on the blogs. Will pay more attention to my own business affairs. To my fellow bloggers I hope your efforts at exposing the nonesense and blatant degrees of corruption on this island will some day be dealt with by decisive action and that we can see an act of judicial process prevailing in this country without bias and respectors of persons. Keep up the good work BFP but I am tired of all the talk. Goodbye. Got a plane to catch.

  13. John

    http://bao.gov.bb/photos/Special%20Audit%20on%20NHC%202009.pdf

    Here is a link to the Auditor General’s special audit on the NHC.

    It makes interesting reading.

  14. David Spieler

    Some years ago there road to be developed for house spots at Jackmans (close to Cane Wood/Jackson). We wrote in asking for a spot for someone close to us who needed help, and Jackmans was close to where she needed to be.

    The roads were dug and marled, but then the whole project stopped.

    How come we need to acquire agriculture land when we have this type of asset in Government?

    Are there assets in Government additional to Jackmans? Does anyone reading know?

    Finding thisninfo is a good and proper function of the blogs. I do hope that someone else may be able to enlighten.

  15. wake up call

    Donald Duck is point on when he reminds us all of the DLP manifesto and its promises.

    What DD fails to remind bloggers is a detailed list of all the previous failures grossly exceeded by the BLP compared to the DLP.

    The real question is who is left to clean up the mess and lead the country?

    It would be extremely sad if Barbadians fail to see the writing on the wall and don’t start putting up strong ethical independents to run against the mediocre and ineffective.

    The DLP could likely implode and the the only choice will be Owen, Mia or some similar power hungry political hack waiting in the wings for his or her turn.

    This is another Barbadian horror story in the making as a result of paralysis and failure to act.

  16. 201

    Do people really believe politicians? Politicians are always ready to make a deal- to get votes, to make some money for themselves, friends and family. There is always some dealing going on. To remain in power politicians must say things to placate the public. There is little conviction in what they say and so many of them being lawyers we know that they are trained to argue on many sides of the same issue.

    Stop listening to them, just judge them on what they do and not what they say. Burn all of the manifestos.