Date August 04, 2007
Barbados Farms In Spotlight
by Carmel Haynes
THE WILLIAMS BROTHERS, Sir Charles and Ralph “Bizzy”, are leading a takeover bid for Barbados’ single largest agricultural land-owning entity. They revealed yesterday at a Press conference at Hilton Barbados that they were seeking to transform the “rotting plum” that was Barbados Farms Ltd. into a profitable entity. Pointing out that the publicly owned agricultural body lost $873 824 last year, the Williamses promised to bring their experience to bear on transforming Barbados Farms in the same way they had improved the agricultural efficiency of Foursquare Estates Ltd. by 84 per cent since taking that entity over in 1997/1998.
It seems to BU that as General Elections draw closer, issues are being raised which appear to be consuming national interest. Whether it is the BS&T merger, the 50 Chinese who were found to be working illegally but given retroactive permission to remain in Barbados, or the latest issue of the Williams brothers Bizzy and Sir Charles’ attempt to take over Barbados Farms Ltd. The enormity of the transaction can be gauged after the realization that the total land area controlled by Barbados Farms is 4000 acres; in the context of Barbados we are talking 6.25 square miles. To assess the implication for Barbados of this transaction, we have to factor the lands already owned by Sir Cow which is estimated to be the equivalent to St. Philip and St. John combined.
We need to argue this latest issue in a dispassionate manner as the situation allows.
The acquisition of prime lands in Barbados by the Williams’ is being done in the absence of a visible land policy. We also have to factor that the concentration of such a large acreage in the hands of a few gives rise to “control” by a mercantile class reminiscent of colonial times. What does this behavior bode for the social cohesion of a small country already absorbed by the Trinidad domination of the commercial sector? Some social commentators, such as talk show host Tony Marshall believes that free enterprise should prevail. In this case, if the Williams’ have the money they should be allowed to purchase whatever assets are available, land included. At BU we find this position to be simplistic, and frankly we are stunned that someone of Tony Marshall’s experience would prostitute his views on such an important matter.
BU has been consistent on the issue of protecting “national assets”.
We have been consistent on the issue of calling for management of our country which will prevent a high concentration of ownership by a single interest group. We intend to use the same argument against 4000 acres of prime lands falling into the hands of the Williams’ brothers to add to what they already own. Land in Barbados must be immediately categorized as a “national asset” and transfer of ownership of any significance must be regulated. The finite nature of land in the context of a 21 x 14 land space we call Barbados does not make this an issue to be trivialized. It seems a common sense approach that any government should be reluctant to allow market forces to operate unhindered when social dysfunction is a real possibility. Barbadians have the prevailing concern of high land prices which makes land an emotional issue given the psyche of the Barbadian. The attempted take-over by the Williams’ given our social kaleidoscope is distasteful and disrespectful to Barbadians.
Who will determine the measure to be applied i.e. which transactions should be based solely on economic value and or public good?
It is times like now that we miss the politicians like Don Blackman, who despite his flaws has always been vocal on the social issues which impact the masses. Hamilton Lashley and Trevor Prescod pale in comparison given the track record of both to date. Any country which becomes so consumed with satisfying solely the economic needs and neglecting the social is leading Barbados down a wrong road. The LIAT issue is another example of successive governments failing to properly prioritize economic and public good issues. The consequence of it all is a CSME which is meant to facilitate free movement of people is now unachievable given the high cost of regional airfares. Yes Barney, we don’t believe you either!
The two said they were committed to keeping a percentage of the more than 4 000 acres owned by Barbados Farms in agriculture, but also intended to place a portion of the land into housing developments aimed at low-and-middle income owners. Sir Charles said they were prepared to sell house and land for a price between $120 000 to $200 000 at the lower income level, while the middle income housing could cost up to $500 000.
We find the above quote interesting because the ink has not yet dried on the deal and Sir Charles is promising that land currently used for agriculture will be converted to housing. BU wonder how Sir Charles could be so bold as to preempt the Town Planning process. Why is it that we feel this deal has the blessings of the powers that be! It is clear that the Owen Arthur administration is connected to an open door policy whether is has to do with immigration, land use or other policies.
God help us!
Related Stories at BU and BFP
Barbadians Want An Equitable Land Policy
Yardbroom Talks About Corrupt Land Use Changes
BFP Says: Williams Brothers Are No Fools, So They Already Have “Unofficial” Change Of Use Permissions For Barbados Farms Ltd. Agricultural Lands
Mr.Williams is a smart man. He knows that owning land in Barbados will make him richer thrice fold and he has persuaded Bizzy to come along for the ride. So we have them owning all the land. We know that there is an unsatisfied demand for housing. We know that Cow own lands along the ABC highway and soon to be flyover and it was Bizzy’s idea to government. It all makes a melting pot of intrique which means more money for the Williams boys. Do they care about the social development of Barbados?
Confused Bajan~we should not blame the Williams’. We must blame a passive government which is dragging their feet on bringing enlightening legislation which would ensure equitable distribution of wealth in the country. Isn’t this what a government in any developing country is suppose to do?
What do we know about an offer made to Barbados Farms (of which CO Williams is a director) for a plantation in the group where someone made an offer just a couple million dollars short of the price he was offering for all the estates in Barbados Farms and COW refused it saying it was under priced but he now offers for the entire lands of Barbados farms marginally more that what was offered for one estate this sounds like a corrupt act to me.
David not sure about this smaller format style and green sidebar is much more difficult to read.
Can we revert to a larger typestyle ? for the entire page?
How about a takeover bid…. lessons from BS&T…..??
I’m ready… r u?
‘Confused Bajan’ yourself and many readers know that the projects are not motivated for the common good.
People are questioning the expenditure by government, its collaboration with private sector and whether there are ulterior remunerations. Also that decisions are made in the dark without any discussion- they just seem to be announced. People are getting angry as they see their assets given away.
Corruption is becoming very overt. Was it always this way, or is it a result of the blogs exposure? The papers suppress it studiously, and by so doing are treasonous to Barbados.
How will you fulfill the role of BU in the exposure of this total Barbados corruption and how can the blogs/bloggers change it?
Can the blogs return the island of Barbados to its people by removing corrupt individuals from power?
All we see in office are dishonest people profiteering from our government owned Bajan assets. This is wrong and the people are angry.
Panger~we can do it with the help of Barbadians who are in the know and can pass info to give us a head start. We are not the CIA or Scotland Yard; we rely on regular citizens who don’t want to have Barbados slip into a morass of corruption and deceit.
I am very pissed that David Ellis has allowed his program on radio today to be about land use. Like BU has been saying the focus should be about prescious land being controlled by a few.
On another note I notice that Dunscombe Plantation in St. Thomas which I feel belong to Cow use to have some green green grass and some big purty cows now I see some roads getting carved in de hills. Now we all kn ow cows dont need no roads. So these lands in the heart of St. Thomas gine to housing?
Can anyone explain why the Internet search engines are going crazy looking for info on Sir Othniel Cow Wiliams?
Well !!!… have just watched Trevor MacDonalds program on T.V……and am horrified at what I have witnessed !!!! we first visited Barbados 35 years ago, catered for ourselves with the help of our dear FRIEND,- now passed on Violet Waterman..- .on the outskirts of Speightstown, …. in those days – a real insisight to `ordinary families` how other `ordinary families` lived in another part of the world.(and made many many friends) How the Charles Williams of our world have ruined it all thro greed !!!…Barbados is not all `money and yachts` yet!!! so come on Barbados !!!… get in the REAL WORLD… and welcome us into a GREEN place as it used to be !!!…no more horrible buildings,on the seashore, no more pushing local people out…no more closing public accesses to the beaches….. WE ARE AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE UP TO !!! barbados is for ALL its local people especially, and their visitors. UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE CONSTANT SLAVES TO THE VERY RICH.We are still regular visitors to your Island, love it and you all, but after that programe would think many people would be put off (unless they are millioniares!!! – in which case they wont want to know `you ordinaries`!!!
If he is right and we are wrong – WE WISH YOU ALL THE LUCK IN THE WORLD AND HOPE YOU ALL BECOME AS WEALTHY AS HE IS !!!!
Mr.and Mrs. Ted and Val Hayden et al from England
Please tell us some more about what you saw on this Trevor MacDonalds TV program!
look up on a B.B.C. programe shown this evening (we are 5 hours ahead of Barbados)…… relating how Sir Charles Williams has `benefited` the Island with developing Port St.Charles, amongst other developments and how welcoming he has made it `
We only get BBC world.
Was that the channel it was shown on?
We too are terribly depressed by what is happening to our lovely island.
– to continue – as I pressed the wrong button !!!! — how welcoming he has made it all in Barbados ??? who for ??? the very rich !! that`s who !!!…
many places we used to be able to access the beach are now not available to even the local people – let alone holiday makers renting `off beach`…why is this ?? many beaches are being built upon with FIVE levels high—– why is this ?? — trees are being cut down and not enough planted to take their place — why is this ???
Developers MUST look after this wonderful Island – or they will be sorry
We love your Island and you too, and hope that all this new development brings you all the prosperity you all deserve, …. but feel that this was not a true reflection of how the `health and wealth` of your Island should be guided
It is always good to get the feedback from people on the outside on how they see Barbados. It should serve as a reality check. Our politicians/government past and present have told Barbadians that development on the West Coast and elsewhere was necessary to sustain the country etc. Based on your feedback which meshes with many locals we maybe killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
Surely Barbadians can appreciate that it is more important for 4000 acres of agricultural land be used for building matchboxes rather for the production of food.Scientists are on the verge of converting concrete and asphalt to edible matter.Bajans,who don’t like to work in agriculture anyhow,will soon be able to eat houses and roads.Instead of building up in the air(e.g apartment buildings)let us continue to spread out.We’ll eventually have to rent land in Guyana ! Thanks Cow and Bizzy !
A number of us, including Green Monkey, Straight Talk etc, have a for a few years, since these blogs started, talked about food security and the importance of keeping our agriculture sector going and even improving.
Now, suddenly we see highlighted internationally, the issue of food scarcity at best and a possible mini famine at worst, as impending.
Yet, here we are still years alter, trying to impress on others the importance of food security.
And we thought that Parliament was full of educated individuals.
Ironically, the food issue also has a major economic element i.e. the cost of living but also, the potential for earning foreign exchange.
Sugar prices are now raised, but here in Barbados our leaders listened to those with suspect agendas, to destroy our own sugar industry.
Never, ever kill an induatry as long as it has some value, especially foreign exchange.
There is nothing worng with keeping an inudatry going for the future, particularly as you can undercut internaitonal prices to offload excess production, even if subsidised.
Every industry, no matter how small is important.
But, we listen to outside ‘experts’ instead of heeding our own and common sense.
So be it.