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By Carlena Knight


The longstanding fight for land rights in the sister isle between the current ABLP administration and Barbudans is far from over.
This is according to Trevor Walker, the Barbuda Member of Parliament and leader of the Barbuda People Movement (BPM), who yesterday confirmed that he and founding BPM member Mackenzie Frank will be taking their case to the Privy Council, the country’s final appellate court.
The move follows last month’s ruling by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) which sided with the government.
“It is a situation now where we have decided that we are going to appeal this judgement to the Privy Council. The reality is we are going to file and get this thing done and we are going to allow the Privy Council, which is the final court in our jurisprudence, to decide on this matter.
“We feel that going to the Privy Council is a place where those judges will be looking at the situation a different way and we are hoping that we will get proper justice when we get there,” Walker said on Observer AM.
The government lost its case in the High Court a few years ago and appealed the decision to the ECSC for the application by the two men to be ruled out.
The case was mounted following the passage of the Paradise Found Act (2015) which nullified critical sections of the Barbuda Land Act which speak to ownership of land. According to Frank and Walker, the Act is unconstitutional as all land in Barbuda is owned in common by Barbudans.
“It has a lot of implications because clearly it is a situation where the whole rights of Barbudans are at stake. The whole situation where we are saying we have been on the land for 300 years and have some rights.
“You can’t live in a house that nobody is charging you rent for 45 years … and then somebody is going to appear 50 years after and say ‘this is mine’. It cannot be a palatable situation, and so we are going to fight this matter all the way up to the Privy Council and we are going to ensure that the Barbudans secure their rights in this matter,” he said.
The BPM leader also chided the administration for what he termed an unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars to fight Barbudans in the matter that he and Frank are personally funding. He revealed that Frank and himself have spent around $30,000 thus far for legal expenses and it will take another $100,000 for them to take their case to the Privy Council.
The BPM members are being represented by Justin L Simon QC.
“It’s amazing how this Gaston Browne administration is fighting Barbuda. I mean, here you are extending the taxpayers’ money — because this is what the Attorney General is doing with senior counsel Tony Astaphan, expending taxpayers’ money against two Barbudans, Trevor Walker and Mackenzie Frank, because we are funding this thing privately.
“The Barbuda Council is not named in this … and so it is amazing when you look at it, when the Barbudans look at it, to see that the Gaston Browne administration is willing to fight two Barbudans just to say that they can control and have administrative rights over the land in Barbuda; it’s unacceptable,” Walker added.
Prime Minister Browne has long claimed that privatising land on the sister isle would improve Barbuda’s long-term economic prospects.By Carlena Knight
The longstanding fight for land rights in the sister isle between the current ABLP administration and Barbudans is far from over.
This is according to Trevor Walker, the Barbuda Member of Parliament and leader of the Barbuda People Movement (BPM), who yesterday confirmed that he and founding BPM member Mackenzie Frank will be taking their case to the Privy Council, the country’s final appellate court.
The move follows last month’s ruling by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) which sided with the government.
“It is a situation now where we have decided that we are going to appeal this judgement to the Privy Council. The reality is we are going to file and get this thing done and we are going to allow the Privy Council, which is the final court in our jurisprudence, to decide on this matter.
“We feel that going to the Privy Council is a place where those judges will be looking at the situation a different way and we are hoping that we will get proper justice when we get there,” Walker said on Observer AM.
The government lost its case in the High Court a few years ago and appealed the decision to the ECSC for the application by the two men to be ruled out.
The case was mounted following the passage of the Paradise Found Act (2015) which nullified critical sections of the Barbuda Land Act which speak to ownership of land. According to Frank and Walker, the Act is unconstitutional as all land in Barbuda is owned in common by Barbudans.
“It has a lot of implications because clearly it is a situation where the whole rights of Barbudans are at stake. The whole situation where we are saying we have been on the land for 300 years and have some rights.
“You can’t live in a house that nobody is charging you rent for 45 years … and then somebody is going to appear 50 years after and say ‘this is mine’. It cannot be a palatable situation, and so we are going to fight this matter all the way up to the Privy Council and we are going to ensure that the Barbudans secure their rights in this matter,” he said.
The BPM leader also chided the administration for what he termed an unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars to fight Barbudans in the matter that he and Frank are personally funding. He revealed that Frank and himself have spent around $30,000 thus far for legal expenses and it will take another $100,000 for them to take their case to the Privy Council.
The BPM members are being represented by Justin L Simon QC.
“It’s amazing how this Gaston Browne administration is fighting Barbuda. I mean, here you are extending the taxpayers’ money — because this is what the Attorney General is doing with senior counsel Tony Astaphan, expending taxpayers’ money against two Barbudans, Trevor Walker and Mackenzie Frank, because we are funding this thing privately.
“The Barbuda Council is not named in this … and so it is amazing when you look at it, when the Barbudans look at it, to see that the Gaston Browne administration is willing to fight two Barbudans just to say that they can control and have administrative rights over the land in Barbuda; it’s unacceptable,” Walker added.
Prime Minister Browne has long claimed that privatising land on the sister isle would improve Barbuda’s long-term economic prospects.

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