Pay up before any construction is carried out on private property compulsorily acquired by Government for the execution of public projects!
Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams made this call in the Senate today during debate on a resolution to compulsorily acquire a parcel of land at Durants, St James, to build a roadway which would facilitate access to a proposed nursery school on the site of the old St John the Baptist Boys’ School.
He said: “My issue is not with the use for which the land will be applied. It is in relation to the whole acquisition process. Somewhere in the last few years, in relation to the compulsory acquisition of land, it has become a burden.
“I say it is a burden because it is the ambition of every Barbadian to own a piece of the rock. So Barbadians acquire property. Everybody down the line hope to get piece of the estate. My point is, land in Barbados is almost sacrosanct.”
Referring to Section 6 of the Constitution Of Barbados, Abrahams noted that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of their property without adequate compensation. The practising attorney-at-law told fellow senators that in his work, he has come across many clients who have had their land compulsorily acquired without receiving compensation.
Abrahams noted that in some cases, there were disputes over the true market value of the land, but he contended that this should not be the case today when they are many competent valuers.
“We can understand the delay in paying compensation for land when there were few valuers in the country, but today there are many valuers in Barbados. There is no excuse for the delay in paying landlords whose properties were compulsorily acquired by Government.”
He suggested that a policy be put in place where the land is not used or converted until Government pays compensation to the landlord.