Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley is pleading with the Mia Mottley led administration to review land prices in Barbados.
Speaking in the House of Assembly this afternoon on a resolution to vest land at Chancery Lane, Christ Church in the state-owned National Housing Corporation (NHC) for housing development, Bishop Atherley lamented the “prohibitive” price of land to some groups of people here.
“We must always ensure that their interests are served,” said Atherley, “as intended, by any legislation we pass in this honourable chamber or by any measure such as this one before us today.”
He said the “very prohibitive” price of land must be looked at in relation to several entities and specific groups such as investors.
The Opposition Leader suggested that one of the things that stymied investment in Barbados was the cost of the land necessary for such investment.
“Investors have to balk at the prohibitive and unappealing prices. And it is not only foreign investors…domestic investors as well,” he added.
Atherley questioned the investment of free tertiary education in an country where the graduates were unable to afford their own homes.
“We educate people up to tertiary level, who then aspire to make something of their lives, to build families, to own property. Having educated them, we then facilitate a culture and an environment…or we do not do enough to ensure that there is not the creation of a culture, [and] environment in which land prices are so high, such that those educated aspirants…are left outside,” he added.
He also said single income homes in Barbados were finding it challenging to own homes and identified young couples as another disadvantaged group who were denied access to property ownership due to the “high” cost of land.
“The whole business of land pricing in my view has to have a re-look.” said Atherley, “If we are to transform Barbados, we have to look at structures of ownership in Barbados and as a Government, facilitate the necessary shifts, such that the undesirable features of structural ownership in Barbados are changed to the advantage of the majority.”
The Opposition Leader also criticized commercial banks for creating a situation where certain classes of people are denied access to money for land.