Member of Parliament for Barbuda, Arthur Nibbs, on Thursday, introduced, in Parliament, an amendment to the Barbuda Land Act 2007, and made a case for lawmakers to pass that Bill based on his assertion that the Act has been used for political gain.
The amendment would take final approval for projects valued below $40 million out of the hands of Barbudans and leave it with the Barbuda Council.
According to Nibbs, the government’s position is that that the current Land Act – which requires Barbudans to approve projects above $5.4 million – has been abused by opposition parties to “stymie investment.”
“The intention of the Land Act was to involve the village – everybody– whether you’re ABLP [Antigua Barbuda Labour Party] or PLM [Progressive Labour Movement] or UPP [United Progressive Party] and the people were supposed to come together and consider development. But that has not been the case.
“It has taken a political slant. If the project was proposed by the ABLP section [then] the ABLP people would vote for it and then the BPM [Barbuda People’s Movement] and UPP people would oppose and vice versa,” he said.
“Why not have the Council who is elected by the people decide on the development projects as they come along?” Nibbs queried.
The MP’s statement were made against the backdrop of staunch opposition to several projects on the sister isle mounted by the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM).
The BPM is currently before the courts in two matters challenging the validity of the town hall vote of the Barbudan people which approved the Paradise Found projects and the government’s Paradise Found Project Act 2015.
Read more in today’s Daily Observer.