How long must ordinary Bajans put up with corrupt politicians compulsorily acquiring private lands – to be converted into private profits for the political elites and their friends?
“Sobbing uncontrollably, his mother said she was afraid that her house and land would be taken away.” (Nation News)
“A small State such as Trinidad & Tobago must accord a very high priority to the judicious management and utilization of its land resources or perish. All elements of land policy must must be designed to ensure that these finite resources are efficiently utilized and husbanded in such a manner as to serve the long term interests of the national community.”
—Conclusion of “A New Administration and Policy for Land” (19 November, 1992)
Afra Raymond’s new piece Our Land talks about the same problems we have in Barbados with greedy elites using public and private lands like their own little piggy bank.
Between crooked lawyers scamming little old ladies like Violet Beckles, and Bajan politicians doing backroom deals, land ownership is a dangerous jungle out there.
Any Bajan has heard the stories and sometimes read the news…
– A relative of a Government Minister ends up with a building lot after an expropriation.
– An official advises his cousin to buy a piece of useless land, and six months later the government expropriates the land and pays a very good price – far more than the original purchase price. Who knew that a new road was to be built there? Don’t ask!
– For fifteen years, a farmer tries unsuccessfully to re-zone his land for housing, but then gives up and sells out. Thirty days after the new owner (and friend of government) buys the farm, the zoning approval comes through and the land is now worth millions. No one knows who the real shareholders are.
– Prime land is expropriated for “low income” government-sponsored housing, and eleven months later a Government Minister moves into a new home in the “low income housing” sub-division. Of course, his girlfriend owns the home – not the Minister. (Barbados Government Minister Gline Clarke – House and Mercedes on Expropriated Land)
– “Back door” land expropriations where building permissions are denied for no good reason until the owner gives up or goes bankrupt over unpaid land taxes. While one arm of the government refuses permission to build, the other arm expropriates for back-taxes… and the land eventually ends up in the hands of a friend of the government.
– When a politician gets his eyes on your land… it’s all over. Corrupt Barbados politicians prepare to expropriate widow’s land – probably for personal profits
… and on and on and on. Then when the citizens start ignoring the laws, the elites wonder about the state of the world.
“We can never move forward as a nation until we have men/women of integrity running our country – that is our problem, and it cannot be said too often.
Until then we will always be second raters, puffing and panting on the world stage with a veneer of progress, but the condos, concrete palaces and circumscribed greens of the golf courses which are admired, will not be our own. We will be strangers in the land of our birth, Oh! how our forefathers must weep, as to what has become of us.
So much pain, for so little gain, a pain “perpetuated” by those who felt the same warm confines, of the womb from whence we came.” Yardbroom, August 2007