Government moving to give Barbudans ownership titles to land

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The Antigua government Monday announced plans to provide each Barbudan a Crown grant for one dollar in order to obtain ownership legally of the lands they now occupy as the island seeks to rebuild following the battering it took from the passage of Hurricane Irma last week.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking during a special sitting of the Antigua and Barbuda Parliament, said “we are saying here we will give you freehold ownership.

“I want to tell you the Barbudans I have spoken to they are absolutely elated over it,” Browne said, noting that the initiative would empower them significantly.

“When you give a Barbudan freehold, first of all those who have their properties that are damaged, they can go into the bank, they can borrow money, they can repair their properties, they can get a mortgage they can build.

“They can get a loan for student purposes, to businesses. It is a form of empowerment,” Browne told legislators, adding “it is untenable in the 21st century for Barbuda to be exclusively dependent on Antigua.

“It is totally untenable…and the irony about it, each time that salaries and wages are late, they hold the Central government responsible. It was never the intent of the Central government to take full responsibility for the payment of salaries and wages and other expenses in Barbuda.

“The intent was…that Barbuda would be able to generate some level of revenue and that Antigua would have provided a subsidy. But clearly it has become a totally dependent relationship,” he said, noting that Barbudans are “proud people and they don’t want to be coming cap in hand to Antigua begging for salay cheque on a weekly basis or monthly basis when they can generate their own income”.

The government last week ordered the evacuation of the estimated 1,800 people on Barbuda after Prime Minister Browne described the situation there as “uninhabitable” following the hurricane that has also been blamed for the death of at least a two-year old child.

Browne told legislators that Barbudans had been “relegated to squatters” after indicating that they were never in possession of any documents indicating that they owned the lands where they had built homes, opened businesses and other activities.

“Barbuda can’t progress until the present land tenure is settled,” he said, adding that no country can move forward without having a proper rights system.

“This is a time to put aside the politics and look at issues based on merit,” he said, noting that under the new initiative mechanism will be put in place to ensure that the freehold lands are not easily sold..

He said the government intends to use more than US$312 million from the United Arab Emirates to building a green environment on Barbuda with the purchase of solar power equipment as well as in the future developing a medical health system that could be exported to the world.

In his contribution to the Special Sitting of Parliament, Browne announced that he had intrusted his bank to make available EC$100,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) from his own personal savings to go towards a fund for the rehabilitation of the island.

He said he is confident that at least three million US dollars could be raised from domestic sources, adding “I want to make an appeal here to every Antiguan even if it is a 100 dollars, I am asking you to make a contribution.

“I expect every Antiguan and Barbudan to step up to the plate. I also want to say here that all of the individuals who collect government rent I want them to contribute at least one month’s rent to the recovery efforts.

“As parliamentarians I expect each and every one of us to step up to the plate,’ Browne said, calling also on the commercial banks and other businesses operating here to contribute to the fund.

“There are wealthy people in this country who can contribute,” Browne said, adding “I know we can’t legislate it but we are demanding it”.

Browne said he was thankful to the regional and international community that has already come to the aid of his battered unitary state.

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The Antigua News Room aims to deliver accurate, breaking news and current affairs to the public with immediacy.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Barbudian wake up dont fall asleep remember Gaston brown these land in Barbuda if u get a piece land as he say it mean the Antigua government have control of these land so be wise Dont let the Antigua labour party trick u he is after these land so they can make all the decision of how Barbuda land goes the Antigua labour party think them head big nothing good is in that deal he is cutting for u he is saying oh if u want a loan u can go to the bank and get a loan by u showning the bank u have yr own land that a smart way of the Antigua goverment take control of Barbuda people land

  2. If dem can sell the sand with dem right dey ….dem can n will sell the land WITH dem on or OFF…..
    They waiting for the right offer BOTH Alp n Upp get dem shut up look the other way money …..barbudans once again fall thru the crack but this time they will dissolve into Antiguan society…

  3. The way you are talking d, is as if the countries are not One, apparently since you are singling out “Antigua government” it seems to me like Barbuda can do everything themselves, with that mentality one is only left to think y’all should have been left on the precious island to pick up y’all selves, note well “NOBODY WANT YALL LAND” so be grateful something is being sort to help rebuild… And talk sense its “ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA” “ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA GOVERNMENT”.

    • Yes. Including all those who received Antiguan passports in the CIP; Antiguans, Americans, British, Jamaicans, Guyanese, Chinese, Syrians, Iraqis etc…the Banks will only be concerned about selling the properties and they dont care if the buyers are non-Barbudans.

  4. Time for these people to be integrated into the global economy, how can they be proud when they sucking Antigua like a parasitic twin, make a contribution, selling seafood and keeping the money no contributions to nothing a high time now man… and all the Pround they proud they can’t do it alone, their work ethics, the manner in which the conduct business… sigh… to top it off they hate Antiguans but over there full of Jamaicans … fixit

  5. Now is not the time to be talking about land issues. These people have just suffered the worst hurricane in history. They are devastated and displaced. It is very insensitive to be taking the land from the poeple which they own in common by law; and to try to talk about new arrangements. Barbudans are very close to their land. Where is your empathy? Wrong timing!

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