Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley wants Government to come clean on what benefits it was getting from the sprawling Villages at Coverley development.
Atherley, who was speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, insisted that he had no nefarious motives, but it would be in the best interest of the Government and the public for disclosure on the arrangements the administration had with the developers of Coverley.
Speaking against the background that the Christ Church location would become the home to Ross University’s students come next year, Atherley said Government should disclose the costs attached to the units sold and the financial benefits that it was receiving “in a questionable context”.
“I mention that to say this, I don’t think the story of Coverley has ever been fully uncovered and told in Barbados. If it has, I have not heard it. They have to tell us about the arrangements around the land at Coverley. You have to tell us about the arrangements around the sale of units at Coverley,” Atherley told the Lower Chamber.
He also wanted to know the details of the deal between the Coverley developers and the university.
Barbados agreed to host the Ross University students at the Villages at Coverley after they were displaced by Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Dominica in September 2017. Classes are set to begin at Ross University here in January.
“That becomes a particularly interesting story when we factor in the presence of the Ross University element at Coverley. All I am saying is, I am not accusing anybody of anything, all I am saying is the story of Coverley has never been fully told and to the extent that the current administration is now facilitating or is party to new arrangements at Coverley with the same developers and with Ross University it behooves the government in the interest of openness and transparency to fully tell the story with reference to Ross University’s presence in Barbados,” he said.
The Coverley development is not new to controversy. It became the subject of discussion in 2013 when then Opposition Senator Dr Jerome Walcott claimed that Government was being pressured into financing that project.
The multi-million dollar housing development, which started out with over 1,000 houses, commenced construction in July 2009 and sold the first home in January 2011.
It was in the spotlight following a vehicular accident, which claimed one life just over three years ago when then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley called for an “obstruction” at the Coverley to be removed.
It is expected that some 400 houses are to be completed by January to facilitate 1,500 Ross University students, 100 faculty and another 200 administrative support staff.
Mottley had announced in August during a press conference that the relocation of Ross University to Barbados should result in a $100 million injection into the local economy.