Exactly three weeks after offering residents lots at $5 per square foot to help solve the “housing problems and the squatting problems in the country”, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman has warned that the days of Government selling cheap land were over.
Explaining that it costs the administration about $100 per square foot to acquire land, Kellman argued that it was only fair for Government to resell at no less than the matching cost.
“It is clear in Barbados that when Government has to buy the price is high, [but] when Government has to sell, nobody thinks that the Government land has value.
“There are a lot of people who believe that Government should buy land very expensive but when they sell land they must be given at a cheap price. I want to say those days are over,” the minister announced in the House of Assembly as debate continued on the Appropriations Bill 2016.
Just last month, while moving a resolution to vest in the Central Bank of Barbados 994.64 square metres of land, inclusive of 841 square metres of public road, Kellman said Government would offer people who qualify the opportunity to purchase land at $5 per square foot to remove themselves from areas where they were deemed to be causing environmental problems.
“From the floor of this House I have said people are free to come and apply for some of the 500 lots at $5 a square foot to remove themselves from squatting and own a piece of the rock. Is not that proactive Government?” he asked then.
During today’s sitting, the Member of Parliament for St Lucy dismissed the idea of widening local highways in order to help ease traffic congestion. He explained that it would be an expensive enterprise and recommended alternative solutions, including building “parallel roads”.
“From the time you build a highway you are going to increase the cost of the land in the area. So if you increase the cost of the land in the area and you seek to widen the highway then the cost is going to be substantial,” Kellman told fellow parliamentarians.
During today’s debate Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde called on the Freundel Stuart administration to disclose the cost of the Highway 2A expansion project from Warrens to Redman’s Village.
“I am not criticizing it from that point of view, I just want to know what is happening because I too have a challenge with the distance between the Simpson Motors roundabout and what is happening at Redman’s Village,” said Forde. (MM)