A recommendation by Prime Minister Gaston Browne for the Cabinet to receive independent authority to give 99-year leases, without the consent of the Barbuda Council, has been approved.
The recommendation forms part of the amended Barbuda Land Act Bill 2016 that was introduced in parliament yesterday (Thursday).
“What I’m seeking to do here colleagues is to give the Cabinet the independent authority to give a 99 year lease independent of the council and also to give the council the right to do a 99 year lease but subject to the approval or ratification of the cabinet. so the proposed amendment would read as follows: Subject to subsection one the cabinet independently or the council with the approval of the cabinet may grant a lease of land in Barbuda for a maximum 99 years,” said Browne.
Browne maintains that lands in Barbuda belong to the crown.
He has criticized the opposition for purportedly trying to prevent the government from developing Barbuda.
“Individuals like Trevor Walker… they are not operating in the best interest of the people of Barbuda. And you know what is happening? -I have termed it as economic terrorism- in which individuals on the other side, not necessarily the member of All Saints East and St. Luke, who has been very constructive, what they are seeking to do is to (stunt) development deliberately, with the hope that they will be no economic development, there will be no growth, there will be few jobs, that people will be unemployed, that they’ll get frustrated and vote out the government,” said Browne.
Arthur Nibbs, the MP for Barbuda also defended the change in the Land Act and says it will benefit Antiguans and Barbudans well as investors.
The amendment facilitates development projects that cost forty million dollars or less.