Land owner finds out by reading newspaper!
Our headline says it all. Brian Cozier owns some industrially zoned land at Vaucluse where his company recycles metal for export.
Your commissars of the Barbados government intend to “compulsorily acquire” (that means “expropriate” in Bajan) a portion of Mr. Cozier’s land so a competitor can use it for the competitor’s recycling business. If you say that sounds unfair and like a huge slap in the face for Mr. Cozier, I couldn’t disagree. It sounds incredibly unjust at first look anyway. (Nation News: Not my land!)
There are a few issues here and I’ll be quick…
1/ Land expropriation is incredibly arbitrary in Barbados, and is often influenced by connections, politics and political donations. Those who give sizable political donations don’t get expropriated. Sometimes the political contributors are the ones who end up benefiting from the expropriations.
2/ There is a long history of private lands being expropriated for a named public purpose, but then being used for other purposes nothing to do with the original reason.
3/ There is a long history of private lands being expropriated for public purposes, but then ending up in private hands after the government “changes its mind” and disposes of the land.
4/ It’s not unknown for a Government Minister to end up residing on land that his government expropriated from private ownership. Barbados has no conflict of interest rules, no Integrity Legislation, no Freedom of Information Act and no constraints or transparency on political donations. The absence of these kinds of laws and standards means that just about anything goes, and that includes expropriations of privately owned lands, then turning the lands over to friends of government.
True fact: Had Mr. Cozier made sizable political donations to the Democratic Labour Party, he wouldn’t be facing this trouble. Just look at Leroy Parris, who probably should be in jail. He loaned the CLICO business jet to the Prime Minister and then when the Clico house of cards collapsed, the DLP gave Parris a cushy job at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation CBC and covered-up his crimes at every opportunity.
Maybe it’s not too late yet, Mr. Cozier: write out that DLP campaign cheque for five or ten thousand and get it submitted right away.
On second thought, forget it. Ten thousand is peanuts beside Leroy’s donations and you probably can’t afford that much anyway. Say, I wonder if Mr. Cozier’s business competitor (Paul Bynoe & B’s Recycling) made any sizable donations to the DLP?
In a truly transparent, democratic and accountable society we’d be able to see the campaign finance records for every political party and candidate.
Not a chance of that ‘pon de rock, my friends. Not a chance.