Bird says gov’t land purchases are evidence of failed strategy

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The leader of one of Antigua’s smaller political parties has declared that the government of Antigua & Barbuda’s plan to purchase private land for further housing development is “an admission” that it has wasted what land it owned in the past.

Chairman of the Antigua & Barbuda True Labour Party (ABTLP) Vere Bird III charged that the historical practice of “selling off” huge areas of land to certain families and to developers in Antigua at “peppercorn rates” is now coming back to haunt the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP).

He said, “If you’re going to be buying private land for redistribution it’s an admission that you have run out of land that can be used to put dwelling homes on.

“This country at one point purchased over 85 per cent of the lands comprising Antigua from the sugar syndicate. And now a generation and a half later…it’s unbelievable that all that land has been sold.”

This week the House of Representatives approved the government getting a loan of EC $6.2 million from the Global Bank of Commerce (GBC) in order to buy approximately 28 acres of land at Hodges Bay and in Thibou’s on which affordable homes are to be built.

In December 2016, the government said it was acquiring the additional land at Royal’s Estate to expand its national housing scheme.

With regard to the lands to be purchased at Royal’s, the ABTLP Chairman queried, “Are they getting a discount? If they are going to be purchasing it at market rate how are we going to develop it and sell it to the working class and at what rate?

“If you’re going to sell at cheaper rates and subsidise the land and homes, that will be a burden on the tax payers, I believe it’s a policy that is going to fail.”

More in today’s Daily Observer.

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