Overgrown Lots

Submitted by The Scout


For a long time successive governments have been threatening persons who own overgrown lots to either clean them up or the government will clean them and attach the cost to the property tax bill. This sounds really good but nothing has been done to rectify the problem.

To make matters worse, because of the heavy rainfall last year and early this year, these overgrown lots have become little forests in some cases. As a consequence many problems have arisen, for example, the breeding ground for rodents, snails(especially the African snail), indiscriminate dumping, cow etch and worse of all the perfect habitat for criminals.

What is frustrating is that we have been told by successive governments about the clean up program, yet there is no legislation in place to demand that property owners clean their lots, hence the authorities hands are tied.  The matter has been allowed to get worse and all over this country we can see overgrown lots even in residential areas.

Are we really serious about cleaning up Barbados or is this just a political gimmick? We also have a large number of unfinished or abandoned buildings many overrun with bush while others have vagrants living in them, for example, the St. John polyclinic.

We rely heavily on tourism and I’m already hearing some visitors remarking about the bushy appearance of Barbados which seems to be getting worse every time they return. It is time government takes the bull by the horns by enacting the required legislation and see to it that it is enforced. We need to follow the example of Bermuda where the empty lots are legislated to be cleaned on an regular basis either by the property owner or by government with the owner being charged for breaking the law, hence the empty lots looks like a lawn.

Until we get serious about this problem it will just get worse and like so many other things get totally out of control – leading to a negative effect on our environment, health and tourism. I call on this government to do something immediately to resolve this problem and save Barbados.

0 thoughts on “Overgrown Lots

  1. The most recent call for serious debushing came from James Paul, before him was Min of Health Inniss and before him many more M.P’s from both parties, why is it taking so long to legislate the cleaning of empty lots? Is it because some of these lots are owned by big-ups and untouchables?

  2. Talking of breeding grounds for the African snail. Lets not use this as an excuse for not tackling this problem head on. During my time in the services, there was an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the UK, and especially after a week-end, local farmers in unaffected areas ,used to go loopy when they spot us soldiers crossing their farms. What they really wanted to know is where we had been at week-end, and if it was to one of the affected areas they would institute some damage control. I say that to say this. Some areas in Barbados are or were heavily infested with the Giant African Snail, yet still everyday we can see landscape businesses moving dirt ,and vegetation, from these affected areas to areas all over the island that were hitherto devoid of these snails. Recently we saw some extensive landscaping going on at the new complex near the Henry Forde Roundabout,(Top of Lodge Road ,ChCh) with the result that the bushy land to the west, which is owned by the government is crawling with the African snails, and they are slowly taking over Newton Industrial Estate.
    Government needs to lead by example.

  3. For a long time successive governments have been threatening persons who own overgrown lots to either clean them up or the government will clean them and attach the cost to the property tax bill. This sounds really good but nothing has been done to rectify the problem

    Far as i understand this is no longer a treat but actually legislation it there for it to be used.

  4. This is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed. The govt. must charge these people. Only then, will we be able to curtail the african snail.


  5. anthony
    I too thought it was legislated until two days ago, when I questioned why there was just talk and was told by someone who would know that it was not passed in Parliament, therefore it is not law. The person said that there is a few loopholes and the talk is just to scare property owners to clean up. I hope you can check it and get back to me, since I too am seriously effected by rodents and especially African snails by the thousands and they are coming from two very overgrown lots next to my property. I have tried every avenue possible even my constituency representative who was astonished by the condition of the area and vowed to do something about it. This was over a year and all I was told is that the offending property owners were notified. I tried to have my Attorney write a threatening letter to the Min of Health and was told it is no law that demands that the owner cleans his/her lot

  6. I think that is nonsense, that part of the Health Service act has been enacted since at least 1985. You can’t order anyone to clean their lot what you can do is write a letter to Min health claiming that the land is in a dangerous state and injurious to health of you , other human being and animals.


    11. (1) Where it appears to the Minister that for the protection or in the interest of the public health any works in or on any premises are necessary, the Minister may serve or cause to be
    served on the owner or occupier of such premises a notice in
    writing signed by the Minister or by any person authorised by the Minister in that behalf requiring him to execute such work as the Minister considers necessary.

    11A. (1) Subject to this section and section 11B, where
    property is in a dangerous state or is injurious to the health of
    human beings, animals or plants the Minister may take possession of such property and execute any work that is reasonably necessary, and after the expiration of 42 days or such period as the High Court after hearing an appeal under section 11B orders, the Minister may direct that the property be sold by public auction for the recovery of the debts due to the Crown in respect of any work so executed.

  7. I have a friend who lived next to a bushy lot. When the rats got prolific, she would call the authorities and have them extermionate and debush and the costs WERE added to the property bill. My sister knows the owners of said lot and after two very large tax bills, they found someone on the island to debush on a regular basis. the owners live abroad. To keep costs down, they now rent parcel to a day nursery with a restriction that no wall structure is to be erected on site.

  8. Anthony
    That is good news because since my last blog, I again enquired about the legislation and was told again, this time by an official from the Min of Health, that they can only persuade the owner to clear the lot but they cannot do it unless permission is granted. It seem my best bet is to get my attorney to write the Min a very stern letter. Thanks for your input.
    Thank you also for letting me know that it has happened before

  9. How about printing the names of the offending lot owner’s in the paper? Just like the derelict structures to be condemned by the MOH.

    Switch our focus from the death notices to the names of the people that have absolutely no regard for their neighbors and neighborhood!!!

    In the US an adjacent derelict property lowers property value– here we aren’t consumers we just pay the purchase price.

    Honestly neighbors need to give one another grief–nasty run down cars, etc. This is nonsense!

  10. Now while you can write a stern letter it would get you add to the back of the queue for the land to be cleared. Write a nice letter citing the legislation and that the issue needs to dealt with expediently to ensure the protection of your health might get you place closure to front of the queue.

    People normally respond better to kindly word letter than the harsh one.

  11. anthony
    I’ve written the nice, kindly worded letter already, a response was made and an officer visited the area. That officer reported that investgations were made and the offending property owners were written and in one case a face to face conversation was made to one of the land owners, yet for all this nothing was done, this is over a year ago. I spoke to my political representative who visited the area and declared it a disaster zone and he would do something about it, again no action. Quite recently, after numerous call to the Dept I was told the debushing will start soon, this was just before Christmas, and my area was priority. Since then I received a call asking for directions to get to the area, this was given, all this was over three weeks ago and they don’t seem to be able to find the area. I called again everyday for the last week and on monday I was told by an officer that the remarks about putting it on the property tax bill was just to scare the owners, this I checked out through an attorney and only today i again asked a senior official of the Dept and it was again confirmed that there is no legislation to have the lots cleared. At this point in time african snails are in the area by the thousands, one only has to get up early in the morning and HARVEST containers full. The government seem to have given up on them as there is no longer a reward for the collection of them and the snails too are laughing at we. It seem everybody is taking a swipe at we bajans who are just laidback and allowing this country to deteriorate and all we’re doing is arguing stupid partisan politics.

  12. I would also like to add that preiously, I used to encroach on the property immediately behind me and pay a excavator to keep a buffer between the thick overgrowth and my property, 1.) for security reasons, 2.) in case of fire when outside gets dry and green fires start. Since I spoke to the property owner in a very humane attitude and begged that the area be cleared, I even offered to assist, the owner stopped speaking to me. Recently an area immediately around their house was cleared and the rest of the lot left unattended and very thickly overgrown. I fail to see in a modern Barbados there is no legislation governing the upkeep of properties.

  13. Try putting a “For Sale” sign or building something small on the spot. That might get the owner’s or their agent’s attention.

  14. Have you noticed that when sugar was king in this country and the great house was the King’s Castle that the grounds,lawns , orchards, fields and fences of these castles were kept in pristine condition by the very same peoples who now are the owners of ‘these fields and hill,’ and allow the place to run to ruin.

  15. @Scout

    Maybe you are not important enough to get necessary action. The lot was in Clapham across from a famous photographer. A BLP photographer by the way. All it took was a phone call.

  16. Pat
    I know I’m not important enough but I am going to be like a fly, I’m going to light on the powers that be consistantly until they get rid of me and the two ways possible is to murder me or clear the overgrowth. Again today I made an inquiry and was told that someone will come a look at the area tomorrow. I promise them to made their life miserable until something is done about the problem.

  17. Check page 6 of today’s saturday sun–


    Will the owner of
    15 Maxwell Terrace,
    Chrisyt Church
    Debush you lot which is
    Harbouring snails, mosquitoes, rats, and encouraging trespassers.



  18. Home Grown
    I wonder how it’s going to take the government to legislate the Act that would hold property owners responsible for cleaning and maintaining their empty or overgrown lots. It nothing is done soon, it can result in a serious epidemic in this country. There are some areas that have lake “lakes of water that have been like that for months, I’m sure mosquitos are breeding like crazy in this pools.

  19. A few easy suggestions to solve this problem:

    1. Scrap the undeveloped land rate and charge full rate for all land within the area.
    2. All land which has been undeveloped for a period of two years is available for the local community council to grow crops after the GoB has cleared, ploughed and securely enclosed the property at the owner’s expense.
    3. Should the owner wish to develop his property after such community involvement he must give a full year’s notice, and on subsequent failure to develop and maintain, surrender all rights to the community farm.

    Drastic measures, I know but necessary to give people a kick up the ass to wake up to where we are.

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