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)
Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman harassing widow for her property for 18 years
Every Bajan has seen or heard about this before – sometimes involving family, friends or old Aunties. Mostly we keep our mouths shut.
We keep our mouths shut because we know how it is ’bout hey. We know that there is no place to go, and we have to spend the next 70 years on this little island, God willing. Better not to cross the powerful political and financial elites who can have all your family sacked from their jobs over a few months with a word here and there.
Yes, it’s that bad on any of these small islands, including Bim. The outside world over and away in the UK and the USA don’t know the truth about living here.
Politicians get into power and then they start hunting around for victims. Widows are always high on the hit list. Better if they are money poor and land rich with any adult children living over and away. Usually involves land that was once valuable in crops or far from the city but not worth too much these days unless… unless…
… unless the building permissions are changed by the government. Then scrub land becomes worth gold… but it never happens in the widow’s hands. Never. Never ever. Never.
So the government ‘compulsorily acquires’ the land for some “really important national purpose…” but maybe after the government owns the land for a few years, development doesn’t happen. Budget problems, ya see! So the government sells the land to private interests and sometimes for less than the purchase price.
“When contacted, Kellman admitted that the land was earmarked for development purposes but refused to expand on that.”
Happens all the time… private lands seized by government for agricultural prices. Then the government flips the land to private interests for the same price, then the new owners sell it for thirty, forty or a hundred times the price paid the widow. But it is all engineered from the start. Happens all the time.
“My father bought this land in 1952, built this house in 1953 and he died in 1954 when I was only six years old, leaving this property for me and my mother…
Mr. Edwards said Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman first approached him about the land in 1996.”
… from The Nation article Not Selling
Farmers are a second class of victim. Scrub land that used to be profitable, the farmer getting older and his children professionals or gone away with zero interest in agriculture. So the farmer applies for development permission. Once that permission comes through, his land is worth a fortune.
But it never comes through. He can wait 15 years but he’ll never get permission to develop his land. Then some ‘representatives for a consortium’ quietly approach him with an offer. Continue reading