Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Maintenance, Peter Phillips has given the assurance that Government will move quickly to compensate persons whose lands have been compulsorily acquired by Government.
Maintaining that Government was not looking “to juck out anybody’s eye” Phillips said land owners deserved to be compensated in a timely manner.
“It is an issue when Government wants to create better for its citizens by constructing a new road, a new pathway, anything of that sort, where the land becomes an issue. And then Government has to move in because we are interested in improving the lives of our people and Government has to do an acquisition.
“I know persons have issues with acquisitions and they have that issue because having acquired the land the payment for that land takes too long and that is an issue which we as a Government aim to address and we are actually dealing with it because you cannot in all fairness acquire some person’s land for development and improvement of others and owe persons forever,” Phillips said today while speaking in Parliament during debate on a resolution to acquire land in Workman’s, St George for recreational purposes.
“We know that this problem has not now started, this problem would have started a long time ago and this Government would have made an effort that once there is land acquisition we have to find the money to be able to reimburse an individual who as a result would have lost the value of that property which they owned.”
He said Government ought to be “forthright” and “up front” with persons when they move to acquire their lands.
The minister said he was aware of situations where persons’ lands had been acquired “for years now” and they were still awaiting payment, while others had died also awaiting payment.
“Those things are wrong,” Phillips said.
He also explained that lands in Barbados could not only be used to build houses.
The St Lucy MP said it was also Government’s responsibility to create safe spaces and provide opportunities for young people.
In explaining that the land at Workman’ was approximately half-acre, Phillips said it would be used to construct a Resource Centre for residents in that community.
He said a site visit had been done in 2020.
“We have many persons out there who have various skills. We don’t know who will be the next Pele, we may have good netballers, good basketballers, but we have to create the environment whereby these persons’ skills are honed and whereby these persons can be spotted by those persons from various disciplines so that they get that opportunity. That is extremely important.
“The Ministry of Housing and Lands does not only see lands as lands being made available for housing because there are many, many other needs across various communities across the length and breadth of this island and we have therefore as a Government, to meet the needs of persons as we carry out the mandate of the people,” Phillips said. (RB)