Minister of Housing Denis Kellman has suggested a way for the cashed-strapped Freundel Stuart Government to earn much needed revenue.
It is from the sale of land under Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act.
Speaking in Parliament today during debate on 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Kellman mooted the idea of Government providing more Barbadians with house spots, instead of using the island’s “scare resources” to provide complete housing solutions.
However, the minister of housing acknowledged that a shortage of land surveyors was affecting the purchase of land under the Act. Kellman also suggested that such transactions were not seen as lucrative to lawyers.
He therefore said his ministry was considering hiring a legal representative to carry forward the vision of Barbados’ Father of Independence and National Hero Errol Walton Barrow of “ensuring that the masses of people were empowered by owning land” — a vision which he said was subsequently implemented by the Barbados Labour Party’s leader Tom Adams and completed by the ruling Democratic Labour Party “because we understood what has to be done”.
The Act allows qualified tenants residing on non-plantation tenantries to purchase their lots if they had carried out substantial improvements such as “the construction in stone, brick and concrete, or a dwelling house and includes the construction of water-borne toilet facilities”.
The Act also makes provision for a Government subsidy to assist tenants with the purchase of their lots. Under Section 10 of the Act, Government pays the subsidy up to 5,000 square feet. The tenant pays the market price for the remainder of the land.
Kellman suggested it was time for the Act, which has already undergone numerous amendments, to be re-examined to ensure it was working in the interest of both tenants and landowners.