Tag Archives: Barbados land expropriation

Land use, land theft, backroom deals a worry for small Caribbean island nations

Barbados Expropriation

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

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate

Barbados Government expropriates land from one business owner – gives it to competitor

Land owner finds out by reading newspaper!

by Nevermind Kurt (with Cliverton)

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.

5/ There is a long history of government expropriating land and not paying for it. Read that again. It is a true statement.

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.

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

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.

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Environment, Politics