Kammie Holder asks why Barbados has no regulations about foreign ownership of land, water and national institutions

An alarm sounded too late?

by Kammie Holder

I am no Messiah or seer. I am no saboteur or maverick. I am but a Barbadian who seeks to exercise his right to free speech and provide feedback to those entrusted with governance. Some scoff at me for challenging the status quo rather than following the crowd blindly. My honesty is not for hire or rent just to maintain a social invite. It`s better to stand alone like a rough diamond, than stand among hypocrites like autumn leaves to be found everywhere.

We became independent 44 years ago because we felt self rule was better for us rather than governance by our former colonial master. But have we been strict craftsmen of our fate? Sadly, Barbados’ land mass of 166 sq miles with its population of approximately 300,000 persons is being lost to foreign ownership and control.

This loss of land and the selling of major Barbadian companies to foreign entities can only ensure financial slavery for those coming after us. The aforementioned transactions are shortsighted and an indication of a lack of understanding of the Future Value Concept. Let me remind you: he who feeds you, controls you. The social scientists on the hill are totally silent on the foreign acquisition of Barbadian companies and loss of arable land. I wonder why.

It hurts immensely that we have been entrusted with the governance and future of this country, yet we are selling it to the highest bidders. The shortsightedness of both major political parties has ensured that we have no foreign land ownership laws for a 166 sq mile island. When the whirlwind comes which political party will take blame?

Will our children be able to buy land in Barbados?

Every citizen must ask him or herself these questions… Will our children be able to buy land in Barbados in 2025? Is the Water Authority next for privatization? Now that Global Warming is a real threat and sea levels are rising, will developers grab all the arable land in the countryside? In the year 2055 will Bajans be second class citizens in Barbados? Is your politician’s loyalty to his paymaster or his constituents? Are Townships like the Villages at Coverley the habitation of the future for Barbadians?

For the sake of the future, I beg all Barbadians to demand more from their politicians. Owning a house on 5000 sq ft of land cannot be the only yardstick for economic enfranchisement and emancipation. A fair share for all and not marginalization of the masses must be the rule and not the exception for economic enfranchisement and emancipation of all Barbadians.

In the year 2010 we have only two Barbadians at the helm of Banks: one black and one white. What does it say about us as a nation? Either we are too docile or too selfish to care. For those who may be logically blind or think I am an alarmist, take a drive to Retreat/Six Mens and enjoy the view for it may soon become lost in history. Will we shut the stable door long after the horse has bolted or wonder what has happened in awe? Every Bank in Barbados is foreign owned and so is every major food distributor.

The day is not far when we will have to import all our vegetables, but as a friend always tells me only negative people worry about food security. Do pray that God blesses wisdom upon those entrusted with our governance.

Kammie Holder


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Business & Banking, Economy, Politics

16 responses to “Kammie Holder asks why Barbados has no regulations about foreign ownership of land, water and national institutions

  1. Kammie

    The spellcheck on BB changed the word from hypocrite to hippocrates. Mr Jack Bowman can you please accept my apology, I am trying to heed your kind advice. Here are some suggestions.

    Invite foreign development to procure foreign exchange which has to be managed and controlled by well thought out legislation – e.g. long term land leasing as is done in Bahamas based on the value of the development of the land – say 25-30 years or 75 – 99 years. encouraging Barbadians abroad to purchase shares in major companies to share in the wealth.

    A restructuring of the Property Transfer Tax Act – making it mandatory that Property Transfer Tax be paid on all transactions, however with a more balanced revised sliding scale.

  2. BFP

    Hi Kammie

    $#@! speeling chequer almost did us in too, but we got it and then it changed it back and now it’s correct. We left off the last sentence because, well, we thought it was better without it. We changed a few words and some paragraph breaks but not the meaning I don’t think so have a look and see how ya like it and if you need some changes no problem.


  3. Responder

    Kammie, you have said it all, my brother. Keep plugging away. I almost forgot, Merry Xmas Jack Bowman.

  4. John

    Let me remind you: he who feeds you, controls you.

    Trinidad interests control our food imports!!

    Trinidad interests own and control alot of the agricultural lands in Barbados.

  5. H i would not agree with what was said we all had a choice to our destiny some choose to make a change and some did not , i am old enough to remember back in the sixties when we were poor great did not want to cut our own canes on the island but we would go to the states and pick fruits and cut canes , so with that the spree boys came in to cut the canes and also labourers from st vincent ,along came independence we had the rights to buy land off the plantation we did not this is the days when it was i dollar, but no every one wanted a flash motor car so what happen it was offerd to outside investment and they were not foolish enough to say no ,and yet the same thing is still going on what i would say to you is check how many flash cars you see around the island driven by youngsters and the then check the condition of the roof over their heads unless the mental attitude towards self worth is changed then we will still be as asking this same question in fifty years , as for food stuff very house when i was growing up had a kitchen garden they dont want that because it takes up a car space .

  6. Jack Bowman

    Dear BFP folks,

    Not sure why you excised Mr. Holder’s final sentence (I read the minimally fuller version in Another Place). I would have kept it.

    The entire text, including that final sentence, is almost entirely unobjectionable to anyone, as is everything else that I have ever read from Mr. Holder. Indeed, the only reason why I had to stick the “almost” into the previous sentence is that Mr. Holder’s insertion of “BL” [balls less] between my forename and surname did cause me to sigh a little. But the sigh was wholly in the spirit of resigned disappointment, a spirit that Mr. Holder’s writings quite often evoke.

    I would have lower-cased the “Banks” (first sentence in third para after second subhead), but only because of the possible confusion between financial institutions and Barbados’s brewery. In fact, that might have served Mr. Holder better than simply removing his final sentence.

    Dear Mr. Responder,

    Many thanks for your greetings of the season. In full sincerity, I wish you and all of yours true health and happiness in the coming year. May we all be well, all of us.

  7. simple answer

    because our leaders have sold out to the highest bidder for a price.

    They are essentially incompetent in running the business of the Nation and giving all citizens good value for their money.

  8. HM

    This debate is long overdue. I simply cannot understand how this situation has gone on for so long. Believe me, in many countries you simply cannot do this.

    The thing that I find most ridiculous is that Barbadians will COMPLAIN about other BARBADIANS who have lived abroad and want to return home to settle down. Yet these same complainers will bow their heads and say nothing about people who have no links to the island buying up great swathes of land left right and centre.

    The Barbadians who return home will spend their money in the island. Their property in most cases will be kept in the family.

    The rest of the people that you let in will often buy property and leave it empty most of the year. They will also be quite happy to try and block off public beaches or gate off public areas.

    Barbados is small with a high population. It cannot continue forever.

  9. HM

    Not to mention that land is selling at exorbitant prices. Goodness knows how a young couple, for example, would ever be able to afford to buy property, even if they had good jobs!

  10. Jack B:

    Barbados’s (sic)?

  11. Kammie

    Merry Christmas Jack Bowman and don`t over eat to get a larger stomach. Is it okay to capitalize B in bank for emphasis if its the subject of my paragraph ? I need to know. Who said BL means balls less and not better late? You still behave as if in your old job. Ah gine shout you the next time I see you, we do have something in common. Your secret is safe with me.

  12. Hi some one talked about young couple not being able to by land check the bling around their necks and the trainers on dem feet and the car they just got out of , dem just waiting for some one to be put 6 feet under and start fighting fuh de land , nobody wants to what de old people did every body wants easy street .

  13. Jack Bowman

    HM is surely right to make this point, and he/she makes it well.

    To add something to the discussion … For the government of any small country, there’s an extremely fine line between trying to serve the greater good of the greater number (by ensuring the fullest possible level of employment in a tiny labour market) and simultaneously trying to serve the greater good of the greater number by ensuring that local-born people have the best possible access to land ownership.

    If you’re a serious government, it’s a line that demands a lot of very complicated cost-benefit analysis. And the big problem is that you never, ever, have enough information on all the major variables in that cost-benefit analysis.

    Also problematic is that the fine line gets further blurred (quite understandably, in my view) by (i) local people with ideological agendas who think it’s always wrong that non-locals are buying coastline and (ii) insensitive and economically illiterate foreigners with a lot of money who want to buy pretty bits of the world.

    This is not a simple dilemma to resolve.

    HM is also surely right to say that “in other countries you simply can’t do this.” That’s quite correct, and it’s a point that bears repeating. Anyone with a huge amount of time on their hands (and nothing better to do) could consult the legislation detailing the various opt-outs secured by member states of the European Union in the relentless completion of the European common market. Would Malta still be Malta if Italian billionaires could simply buy the Maltese coast? Would Cyprus still be Cyprus if French billionaires did something similar? How much of Denmark’s coast would be Danish if Germans were allowed to buy whatever they want on the coasts of Jutland?

    At the same time, of course, security of property rights is at the heart of any modern democracy. We don’t want to be stopping people from realizing a fair market value from whatever property they own.

    It’s a tough one, and it’s much tougher in small countries that aren’t members of big clubs.

    And Mr. Holder, who has called me “balls less” might be surprised to learn that I appreciate entirely his concerns in this area. They are completely legitimate concerns and I share them. Perhaps we only diverge in the source of the concern. A major international conflict that severely disrupts shipping in the eastern Caribbean seems almost inconceivable at the moment. But a wise government does indeed employ people to think fifteen and twenty years down the road, imagining the inconceivable and devising a Plan B and a Plan C and a Plan D.

    In that light, it’s hard to see the sense in any suggestion that Barbados should give over its most productive arable land to factories making T-shirts or condos for Canadians.

    The difficulty is that, in this field, too many people have opinions that are nothing more than bumper stickers. “Stop foreigners buying land” is a bumper sticker. It’s a slogan on a T-shirt. It’s not an economic programme of government. And “Let the market rule” is another bumper sticker, another T-shirt slogan that gets nobody anywhere.

    Fine lines, folks, and hard-headed, hard-nosed cost-benefit analysis. That’s why we vote for governments, right? To make those tough decisions? That’s why we’re democrats in the free world.

  14. Hey guys lets start with something small be fore we take over the world , what about this man with no work permit let get some justice with that one cause the horse has already bolted out the stable on this one . long live life we want justice not words .

  15. Jack Bowman

    Oops. I forgot Mr “Petard Hoister” (which isn’t a bad gag, if you think about it. But you do have to think about it, so it’s a pretty mediocre gag).

    Yes, Mr. Hoister, it’s Barbados’s. Many will say Barbados’. But that’s only because they are members of the not-too-bright community who don’t really know how to put a sentence together.

    I hope we cleared that up.

  16. Jack Bowman

    I am not a messiah or a seer. I tell it like it is. I do not care for social invitations because I tell it like it is. Some may say that I can’t really write proper grammatical sentences, but I tell it like it is.

    Some scoff at me for telling it like it is, but I tell them: I am telling it like it is, and my ego is much, much bigger than my grasp of basic grammar. Some say: “I have never heard of you. Are you one of those people on Facebook? Do you tweet?” And I say: “I am telling it like it is”.

    But I would always forego a “social invite” to tell it how it is. Some may scoff at my sense of honour and my determination to tell it how it is. But I can do no less. I tell it how it is. That’s how I am. Some laugh because I challenge the status quo and do not follow the crowd blindly.

    I dare to say that water is wet (many will scoff at me for challenging that particular status quo, but I am a rough diamond) and that things fall onto the ground if you drop them. I am a rough diamond. I dare to say that most leaves are green, and I prefer to stand alone with the opinion that it’s dark at night and less dark during the day. Some might call me a maverick for saying that, but I prefer to speak the truth than to accept “a social invite”.

    Some might say that I am a self-dramatizing dullard who could only get away with being this boring and self-dramatizing in a tiny little country, but I tell it like it is. Everybody says: he tells it like it is. So I tell it like it is.

    • Boiling water is hot.
    • Horses have teeth.
    • Cows give milk.
    • Many elderly people have grey hair.
    • The world is not flat. I would always reject a “social invite” if I want to make the point that the world is not flat. I tell it like it is. Honest, I’ve got a Facebook account and everything. I tell it like it is, because I know everything.