Walker prepares for Barbuda Land Act battle

Trevor Walker

Trevor Walker, the recently elected member of parliament for Barbuda, is preparing for a fight if the government proceeds with plans to repeal the Barbuda Land Act of 2007.

He said the Barbuda Peoples Movement (BMP) intends to challenge tany proposed changes that is taken to parliament next week.

“Barbudans, this is unacceptable; this is going to change our way of life, and in short, we are going to lose our beloved island. BPM, with my leadership, will fight this. This is not in our best interest,” Walker said in a video address.

On April 13, the government plans to repeal the Act, which has been a contentious issue for the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party administration.

In a plea to the prime minister, Walker asked Gaston Browne to revisit the decision.

“I want to call on the prime minister, to ask him respectfully to review this decision and to shelve  changing our land tenure. It is going to hurt us, prime minister; it is going to hurt our children; it is going to hurt our economy and it is going to hurt the nation of Antigua and Barbuda,” the MP added.

Steadroy Benjamin, the attorney general, said the current law, which prevents Antiguans from owning land in Barbuda, is unconstitutional.

In early 2018, the government amended the Barbuda Land Act to allow Barbudans to have private ownership of land.

When the ABLP lost the Barbuda seat in last month’s general election Browne said he would be taking a firmer stance on the governance of Barbuda affairs.

Browne said that while he felt the land Act should be repealed, his government was only keeping it to gain the electoral support of Barbudans.

Since 2015, the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) administration had said it would change the Act which, the prime minister has dubbed “unconstitutional.”