While Coverley developer Mark Maloney is set to earn millions from the relocation of Ross University School of Medicine students, Government was also a big winner.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley yesterday revealed that government has sold its lands at Coverley to Maloney for $13.5 million, three times the worth.
Mottley said the decision to sell the land, used to house some of the 1,500 students from the American university, was made after it was discovered that the previous administration had got practically nothing from Maloney during their time in office.
“Let the record show that the Government of Barbados took a decision that the previous Government did not take, that with respect to the lands at Coverley, rather than wait and get as the last Government was doing, less than $20,000 per house when a house was sold and if it was rented they never got it . . .,” the Prime Minister said during debate on the Public Finance Management Bill 2019 in Parliament.
“That land was in their possession. It could have been in their possession for another ten to 15 years. If the houses didn’t sell the Government of Barbados would get nothing. And in fact, because he is renting, we would have gotten nothing if we had just done what the last Government did because they have not sold the houses to Ross [University], they are in fact renting the houses to Ross.
“Our Government decided this is not good enough and we approached the developer and told him that he would have to pay Government for the land which is going to earn you rent for the houses that you are going to complete. And that because we want to be able to keep the relationship clean and separate and apart, pay us for the land. In fact, the value given to us by the valuation was less than what we got,” Mottley added.
The Prime Minister said even though the land had been valued much less than the eventual selling price, Government had been able to negotiate because of the influx of students from the Ross University.
And while she said it meant Government no longer had any stake in the land, some much-needed money had been added to Government’s coffers.
“We took the decision to sell the land at a price that would give us a return that was almost three times as great or more and to sell the land for $13.5 million for the houses at Coverley.
“So we have no part of it, but the coffers of the Crown will be $13.5 million richer for land that has been in the possession of the same developer for almost ten years without a cent coming to the Crown for that particular set of land for which we have now received money,” Mottley said.
The Prime Minister also called for the documents related to the sale of land at Coverley to be made documents of the House of Assembly.