Urgent Need To Define A Relevant Land Use Policy

Mark Cummins - Chief Town Planner Credit: Nation

“We face a problem in Barbados with smallholdings. A lot of these date back to pre-emancipation days when many non-slaves were what was described as “free persons of colour”. However, to be able to hold public office, they had to own in excess of 10 acres of land. Many free persons of colour purchased the minimum 10 acres of land and many of those titles remain with the descendants today”
–  Amused

.

The controversial Bizzy Williams brother of Sir Charles Othniel Williams is in the news again for asserting the government is to blame for the  ‘spiralling price of land’. He is partially correct although it is not as simple as he suggests. A former Commissioner of Land Tax stated recently if government wants to significantly reduce the price of land it would have to release several lots into the market to satisfy current demand. This would lead to a measure of price equilibrium. It is no secret that demand for land currently outstrips supply. It is easy for Barbadians to take pot shots at the Williams brothers because they are known to be rich and therefore an easy target. The fact that both of them are outspoken means the Williams target becomes even bigger.

When analysing the issue of spiralling land prices in Barbados several factors must be considered. Successive governments have used real estate development to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) especially on the West Coast. There are also Barbadians living in the Diaspora who have been encouraged to invest in Barbados to respond to  government’s insatiable need for foreign exchange. What about the ownership of large tracts of land which Amused reminded us of in the quote above and the impact it has had on freeing up land?

The debate about owning a piece of the rock will always strike an an emotive chord. Most West Indians aspire to be land owners because it satisfies a physiological need which says, I have done it, I belong! If there is the perception that the goal of being a landowner is unattainable then expect the kind of societal tension which is currently at play.

Over the years several solutions have been tossed up how we can satisfy the demand for affordable land in Barbados. There was a time in the 90s (speaking from memory) a cabinet committee established under a Barbados Labour Party government analysed the ownership mix of land as a precursor to alien land holding discussion. The consensus at the time, which has influences public policy to this day suggested to the government Barbados needed foreign investment to sustain its economic model and alien landholding legislation would have sent the wrong message to foreign investors.

BU believes the issue of land affordability came to a head under the last government which rode the economic boom on the back of construction and foreign direct investment. Some believe adverse sentiment among the populace that our fields and hills was being sold out to foreigners which had the effect of driving up land price was a dynamic at play in the last general election. Perhaps the Arthur government was implementing a hybrid of the Singapore model whose economy relies on FDI supported by an open immigration policy.

Central to the discussion has to be the role given to the Town Planning Department under the laws of Barbados. There has never been a sense by BU that the Physical Development Plan was in harmony with a relevant national strategic plan to determine how our land resource is to be effectively utilized. Under the last government the strategy was to build out the economy on services, agriculture was a stepchild policy.  The incumbent government has been muttering the right statements but a serious commitment to agriculture still has to emerge after 3 plus years at the helm of government.  It seems the Minister of Housing has license to drop housing developments anywhere like a yard fowl would an egg.  By all means build houses but shouldn’t it fit into a plan? Bizzy Williams confirmed in an interview in today’s press that he has had to stop building houses in Six Roads because the Barbados Water Authority cannot supply the water demand.

Even if Barbados had a Physical Development Plan which was efficiently informed by a national strategic plan for land use, what about the spectre of corruption? The Town Planning Department needs to be established as an independent unit, away from the control of greedy politicians. BU will always remember the reclassification of a large tract of land on the West Coast which was changed from Zone 1 and subsequently sold for millions to the benefit of David Shorey and partners. The sale, subdivision, reclassification of land is big business for the money elite and politician in Barbados, this is where meaningful change must begin. If we get the policy right the adhoc approach which currently exist will be addressed. The government must also follow through on its plan to improve the process to establish titles in Barbados which is a mess and has resulted in years of frustration for many Barbadians seeking ownership of land in the family.

What will it be, a policy of fetching the highest economic value for land? Create a land bank where price is controlled? How does our agricultural policy fit into everything? Are we serious about responding to food security given the uncertainty which is bound to escalate in a world where war is the answer over diplomacy?

A proper land policy like many of the challenges which confront our small developing nation calls out for leadership.

73 thoughts on “Urgent Need To Define A Relevant Land Use Policy


  1. @ David
    Barbados needs one land policy to start with….
    ONLY BAJANS CAN BUY LAND IN BARBADOS.
    Any time you open a small (paradise) island for sale to the world it is obvious that demand will outstrip supply.
    Why would a Russian Billionaire mobster not buy St Philip to be used as an occasional resort if he can?

    Bizzy sounds a lot more intelligent when he keeps his trap shut and concentrate on running his plantation style businesses.
    When his drinking buddies can take chunks of a small island and market upscale housing to the top 5% wealthiest people on earth- at prices way above what even the Bushman can afford (but which is chicken feed to their target groups)…. what do you expect will happen to the price of land?
    How can COW be selling at 1$million per lot and Aunt May be buying land 200 yards away at $5 / square foot???
    Stupsssss

    As to your “Former Commissioner of Land Tax” – Obviously he was of the ilk of a cetain former supervisor of Insurance.
    You telling a Bush man that the only way that the people who MAKE UP THE LAWS can reduce land price is to compete with the rich people….? Stupesssss

    Bushie can think of at lease a dozen different ways…..

    The selling of our birthright to the highest bidders (as certain ‘Bajans’ do with our limited land,) is the lowest form of prostitution possible…. Or is it that a certain category of ‘Bajans’ have decided that rather than allow a ‘different category’ of Bajans to succeed and excel – they would prefer to ‘sell out’ to outsiders with whom they are more comfortable….?

    Land sold…. Businesses sold….. Bartel sold…..Electric Company sold… Our expensively educated young people on the Block…We are headed right back to pre-emancipation status.


    • @Bush Tea

      Have to agree with you.

      Bizzy probably means well but is seeing the problem through a rich man’s lens.

      They want us to dump all our eggs in one basket i.e. creating products and services which support tourism. Is this how they run their businesses? Don’t they have a diversification strategy in place?

      The government must create a policy which ensures that Barbados remains in the hands of Bajans, what’s left of it anyway.

      In fact Owen Arthur and the BLP should have to state its position on this matter?

      As you know BU and the BU family pressed this issue of land use and its affordability hard pre-general election, never thought it would come back on the table.

      More things change thee more they remain the same it seems.


  2. Well we now know why Bizzy and COW wanted to purchase Barbados Farms, and thank goodness Sagicor intervened. Bizzy cannot be serious and he’s not thinking it through. The current Apes Hill development has a magnificent golf course, but to date, hardly anyone is buying the land, and those that have bought are not building. It makes one wonder how long this can be sustained. Similarly, the Green Monkey golf course took a large tract of agricultural land out of production so that a private golf course could be built for the use and pleasure of only the owners and their friends. No land sold to date. So is Bizzy promoting the the development of more golf courses that “employ more people than sugar” so that they, too, will lie idle, waiting for overseas buyers? COW bought Gregg Farm from its (probably indebted) owner for about BD$1 million and is selling lots on the same land for about BD$1 million each. And it’s the government’s fault that land is so expensive? Steupse!!


  3. @David

    I am happy that the issue of landownership has become a featured article on this blog. This is an issue that must be dealt with once and for all. All strata of barbadian society must be able to own land in Barbadsos.

    As you would appreciate, the planatations still dominate the land scape in Barbados, owning most of the productive lands. Some years ago, a Vincentian friend of mine visitng this country was amazed that plantation ownership was still the dominant pattern of ownership here in these modern times.

    After slavery, most of the land acquired by the masses was rab land, at the strateg was to keep the labour tied to the plantation as the the land they acquired only allowed a subsistence existence. Every effort was made to prevent blacks from owning large track of lands as the cost was prohibitve, unlike what obtained in our neighbouring Caribbean coutries. One of the reasons, the plantation owners were able to use this strategy was because there was hardly any unused land available. Blacks barbadians countered by trying the cooperative approach and example of this was some Barbadians who emigrated to Panama pooling their resources to acquie a plantation (I cant remember the area, but I think it was somewhere in St. Peter of St. James}.

    From what I have seen, the Current Government housing programme is on track, and I dont see the programme using much productive land. I must commend the Minister of Housing for his approach to dealing with house and land ownership for the lower-to-middle class.

    For the price of land to drop, Governmen must intereven in the market in a meaningful way to allow the upper middleclass to acquire land at meaningful prices, i for one am not advocating people in this category purchase it at the $5 a sq ft. Land is too expensive and those benfitting mostly are the same class which benfitted from slavery and the historical cylce continues.
    Government has spent a conisiderable amount in proping out those sugar estates and had an opportunity to introduce meaniful land reform, but missed the boat.

    Having the Town and Coutry Department as a separte unit will not solve the problem of influence. Many years ago, before I left the Pubilc Service I remenber an Indian business woman telling me that money talks, i remember telling her not with me. I say that to say this, that as long as you are dealing with human beings, some can be influenced to take bribes, and the wealthier the individual, the bigger the bribe that will be offered. That is why I support Integrity legisation, which would have to be enforceable. But who will guard the guard?

    I never supoorted the conclusion reached, that we must sell our land to the highest bidder to attract foreign investements. This is one factor that contributed to the escalation of land prices, added to the fact the the returning natioanal were prepared to pay any price to the unscupulous land developer as their money had much greater currency than the Barbados dollar.

    If the issue of land ownership is not dealt with from a development perspective, as well as a sociological perspective we are going to have serious problems down the road. Young people, especially those in the lower, to lower middleclass do not see any future in land ownership, and dont think about ownership of reasonable size house.

    I am insupport of an alien land holding’s policy, there no argument presented that this will dry up foreign investment. Whart government is mostly concerned is the immdeatiate cash that is paid for the land, but surely a strategy can be developed to ensure that over the 99 year the country derive considerable benefits from the arrangement. Sometimes, we forget that the outflow of profits from the foreegn entities, from the MNC outweights the initail foreign investment. I waould like the economst in Barbados to show us how the outflow o profits from the BL&P would impact on us over the long run. These are factors we must consider when speaking about land ownership in this little rock.


  4. Amused wrote,”It is easy for Barbadians to take pot shots at the Williams brothers because they are known to be rich and therefore an easy target.”

    No Amused. It is because Sir Charles boasted on a BBC program that he is the largest land owner in Barbados and only stopped buying land because “the Prime Minister” told him to stop.

    It is because Developers and contractors in Barbados built houses for the rich at $700 per sq. ft. from as far back as 2001, drove the cost of labour up and hence construction of houses for the middle class went from $120 per sq.ft in 1982 (a house that a certain Kolij boy designed) to $200 per sq. ft today.

    It is because it is lunacy to suggest that the increase in the price of land is Government fault.
    If a plot of land is sold for $50 per square foot do you expect a plot across the road will sell for $5 ?

    Bush Tea your post is very good.

    I really like Bizzy tactics doh. He an he bruddah playin good cop bad cop pun we.
    Problem if dat de intelligentia on BU gine share licks.

    And don’t forget Owen Seymore Arthur’s statement that land should used to its maximum potential. ie to rich foreigners for development.


  5. I understand government has asked the Williams Group to hold off buyiny more land, they bought land at ridiculously low prices and sold for top dollars, this along with some other developers are the ones who pushed the land prices so high. Now that they can’t or are not allowed to purchase land at their whims and fancies, they want the prices back down. I’ve seen thousand of acres of good agricultural land removed for golf courses and now for planting hay to feed cows and horses. Any country that cannot feed its people are looking for problems. The wicked thing about it is that many average bajans who only have a little two or three acre is denied sub-division, even if it is only to allow his/ger children to build their houses, instead they are forced to purchase land from one of these land grabbing developers, while their parents land remain idle become they are too old to work it. This T&P dept and its acts are only for the “well to do.”


    • This is an excellent point which The Scout mentions.

      It comes up all the time.

      There are probably 100s of little 1 or 2 acre family plots which ordinary Barbadians, if allowed by Town Planning, can distribute to immediate family and ease the demand on the market.

      It is something a ‘caring’ government should look at seriously.


  6. @The Scout wrote, “The wicked thing about it is that many average bajans who only have a little two or three acre is denied sub-division, even if it is only to allow his/ger children to build their houses, instead they are forced to purchase land from one of these land grabbing developers, while their parents land remain idle become they are too old to work it.”

    Man why you talking out Hants family business ?


  7. David we should inform bloggers who have not seen it, that Cow Williams was interviewed in a BBC documentary called Secrets of the Caribbean by Trevor McDonald.

    We ent tellin nuh lies pun Cow so I clarifying “like a good little boy”.


  8. Hants wrote that Williams and other developers “from as far back as 2001, drove the cost of labour up”. Presumably this was a “bad thing” and it would be a “good thing” to drive the cost of labour down. From my own selfish perspective this would be good (since I have some house repairs that I could then afford to have done) but would the many construction workers and related professionals, not to mention the BWU, be happy?

    We really need to criticise Owen Arthur for permitting and opening housing/villa development projects at Pickering in St Lucy, at Merricks in St Philip and the Edgewater Villas project at Bathsheba all of which target foreigners as prospective customers.


    • A key part in the Sir Charles interview is when he stated he acceded to the request from the the PM of the day (Owen Arthur) to stop buying land because it could be a threat to the social stability of Barbados.

      Should this be the case where the mega rich have to be asked (begged) to stop buying land?

      What if he did not?

      What if he restarts his buying binge?

      Shouldn’t the Cow Williams experience teach us that we need to build in safety nets for the disadvantaged? Are we doing enough?

      What about a land bank?


  9. @ Ping Pong,
    Contractors in Barbados charge per sq. ft for building houses.

    The point is that the middle class and poor in Barbados have had to pay inflated prices because of the building boom created by the construction of houses for the mega rich.


  10. Cow can take some credit for preserving land for future generations.

    Today’s golf courses can be tomorrow’s vegetable farms. ( A Cuban minister used that logic to convince Castro to permit the building of golf courses in Cuba).
    Hant’s just copying de logic.


    • Here is a question BU would love to ask Sir Charles. What were the deals made around the table with Hallam Nichols and Owen Arthur?

      Here is one for Owen Arthur, tell us about Bakerwoods and Liz Thompson.

      Here is one for Barney Lynch, what was the deal with Sandy Lane?


  11. David wrote “A key part in the Sir Charles interview is when he stated he acceded to the request from the the PM of the day (Owen Arthur) to stop buying land because it could be a threat to the social stability of Barbados.”

    David if the economy does not improve, the mega rich will be buying land from people who are forced to sell.
    Small agricultural holdings will become available.


  12. Hants, my point is that thousands of Barbadians earned a good wage or salary during the building boom. Government collected lots of taxes and ‘everybody’ was happy then. Nobody wants to lower their rates now even if they’re not working.

    By the way the quoted “per sq ft” cost of building a house, which is touted by every contractor that I’ve met, has always perplexed me. These contractors would have me believe that regardless of finishes, the cost of building (per sq ft) is a constant.


  13. @Ping Pong

    This is why building an economy on the back of FDI (real estate driven) and construction was not and will never be sustainable. It helps but it can’t be the strategy os a 166 sq mi island.


  14. Also is it of any relevance to this topic that a senior official of the Town and country Planning office is on the payroll of one the biggest land development/construction companies? One could get “jaded” when one sees what is “coming” out of the TCPO.


  15. @Ping Pong, the per sq.ft cost is used because it allows the contractor to make profits over the 20% which used to be considered reasonable in the 70s.

    Poor and middle class people do not have the resources to pay a quantity surveyor to accurately cost a building so they pay whatever a Contractor charges.


  16. @hants

    Black Barbadians normally dont sell of their land, unless their sandwiched bewteen development which drive up their land taxes or there is a pressing economic situation . If they have chirldren the more reasons why they hold onto to their land. I am cognisant that some of their children who dont apprecaite the value of land owneship would sell of the land to the highest bidder.

    Watch how the indians are acquiring property, have you heard of any property moving out that community once acquired. The blacks need to be re-socailised of the significane of holding on to the little plots their foreparents fought so hard to acquire. I am aware that governmet land tax policy contibutes to people bing forced to sell their land. Perhaps this might be a policy of succesive governments to help the rich acquire ceratain lands in certain locations.

    As regrards the issue of cow willaims being asked to put a hold on land ownership, i know that in america there is policy which prevent a business from becoming a domiant player, when that happens the company must break up. Can we have legislation to prevent an individual or company from becoming a dominant player in the land market? I think so, where there is a will, there is a way.

    My family ensured that the little plot acquired remained untill the collectivy make a decsion to change it, that was a way of ensuring continuity to the siblings, i have been told that that is not now allowed. I have to check to see if the seed to seed concept has been outlawed for want of a beter word.


  17. David, I may agree but NO ONE has proposed an alternative model. Some have hinted at alternatives but these seem to require (i) a simpler and more self sufficient style of living, (ii) constant hard work, (iii) honesty and integrity, (iv) shared values and shared experiences (v) creativity and pro-activeness, and (vi) a willingness to challenge the status quo. As a typical Bajan I will not allow such foolishness to be promoted even though I am at the bottom of the pile catching my tail.


  18. David | May 23, 2011 at 9:22 AM |
    Here is a question BU would love to ask Sir Charles…

    David you bowling on a good length just outside the off stump and unplayable.

    Sir Charles will shoulder his bat.lol


  19. @David

    Do you expect to get answers?

    I have one for you David? How much transfer tax was waived, when Barclays and CIBC combined to form First Caribbean and who was the one making the waiver? Owen Arthur as Minister of Fiance. Resaerch the amount and inform this blog.


  20. @David

    Was the land at Bakers wood located in the zone 1 area, and was this the same land the old gentleman could not get permission to develop?

    I am asking because a whistleblower some years ago confided in me and infromed me about land and this old gentleman who was prevented from subdiving land some where in that neck of the wood, but after he sold it, with the stroke of a pen huge sums were made by a specail interest group.


  21. David for purely selfish reasons I am tempted to let this blog continue since I am involved in a contentious war about a few acres but the breaking news is too hot to ignore.

    Mama Mia is back! an licks gine share in de BLP.


  22. Hants, the quantity surveyors are in cahoots with the architects, the engineers AND the contractors. It is in these guys’ interest to make any building as expensive as possible. their fees are tied to the overall cost. Not one will suggest ways to economise. Let me give an example from personal experience. an architect will design windows spaces that all require custom built windows even though the difference between the standard (store available) size and the specified custom build is less than 1 inch! The difference in cost however is hundreds of dollars per window!


  23. David I would like you to publish the regulation regarding buildings in Zone 1.

    Circa 1978, I was told that you could build in Zone 1 is you used a Septic tank with the correct field dispersal system.

    I was told that some luxury houses in Neils have said systems but I don’t know if Neils is in Zone 1.


  24. While I appreciate and understand the comments on this thread re land ownership, and the desire everyone has to own his/her own piece of land, it is still instructive and wise to heed what the Lord has to say, hear Him!

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where theives break in and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where theives do NOT break in and steal. FOR where YOUR TREASURE IS* there YOUR HEART* will be also.”(Matt. 6: 19-21 Emphasis added).

    Take Up the Cross and Follow Him!

    “When He (Jesus) had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come afte Me, let him DENY himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever desires to save his life will LOSE IT, but whoever loses his life for MY SAKE and the Gospel’s will SAVE it. For what will it profit a man if he GAINS the whole world, and LOSES HIS OWN SOUL. Or what will a man give in exchange for his SOUL? For whoever is ASHAMED of Me and My WORDS in this adulterous and SINFUL generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ASHAMED when He comes in the Glory of His Father with the holy angles.” ( Mark. 8: 34-38 Emphasis added).

    It is imperative to understand, that the above WISDOM, spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, is not only applicable to the MEGA rich, like COW et al, but, ALSO, to the ordinary individual as well, who might place his very life (SOUL!) on a single LOT of land, and end up LOSING his soul in Hell!


  25. @Zoe

    You maybe correct in a roundabout way given how Barbados has become a ‘holely’ country. What is Town Planning doing about alerting citizens.


  26. Zoe
    isn’t life so unfair? C.O. Williams may be a good Christian for all I know. Kyffin Simpson is a very committed Christian I’m told. They get it all; paradise on earth and in heaven. Some of us just get hell. You remind me of a story told by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Once upon a time the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. The missionaries went to the Africans and said ‘let us close our eyes and pray together”. So they did. Afterwards the Africans had the Bible and the missionaries had ALL the land!


  27. @observer

    Wasn’t that the deal where Simpson benefited about 3 million shares which escaped transfer tax? Was Thompson Minister of Finance at the time? A little hazy.


  28. Sparrow wrote and sang a song called “Capitalism gone mad”. I remember that song when I think of the high price land, and the hich cost of living in general here in Barbados. The worrying thing is that land prices only go up, they never come down unless some negative occurs that drives the price down. I’m of the opinion that price controls are necessary.


  29. Zoe you can preach the good word but I taking my chances.
    I am not renting any body property as long as I live unless my business fails and I lose everything.

    People have to live somewhere and nowhere is better than in your own house on your own land.

    Would you rather live on massa plantation tenantry?

    Black people on this blog should aspire to own not rent.
    I went to church and hear bout how bad being rich can be. I also know what it is like to have to move your best “HOME” off tenantry land.

    Some of us used to live in chattel houses in tenantries including dis “Kolij” boy Hants.


  30. @Zoe

    How come the following was omitted from your submission?

    “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth”


  31. @Ping Pong

    One could get “jaded” when one sees what is “coming” out of the TCPO.
    ***********************
    Are you suggesting that the decisions coming out of TCPO are open to question? Perish the thought my good man, wasn’t it only last week that the PM made a speech and confirmed that he visited TCPO and everything was “hunky- dory” (my phraseology not his). In fact if memory serves he stopped at each desk and spoke to ever man jack about their role and was quite satisfied that all was well.

    And you know that anything a politician says is gospel.

    http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/pm-no-proof-of-bad-town-planning/


  32. @David

    when the two banks merged, I dont think Thompsom could have been involved in the decision process, if my memory serves me correctly when I was offered to become a member of FCIB, the result of the merger, Owen Arthur was Prime Minister, the merger did not take place in 2008.

    I never heard of Thompson exempting Simpson from any transfer tax, and if that was so it was wrong too, but if you want to tell me it did happen day so, but dont link it to the Barclays./CIBC merger beacause Thompson was not minister of finance when that happended since the merger occured long, long before 2008.

    Have you got any information in relation to the arrangent with sol and the oil monguls which adds to another layer of cost of the price of diesel and gasoline?

    I await your response.


  33. @Hants

    The bible said bythe weat of your brow you should eat, and i also interprt to mean own a little piece of the rock and I got mine and it aint leving my hand as lond as i am alive. Amen.

    keep on writing, I with you.

    I aint hear Bonny peepa on this subject at all. She and Rok like the eloped.


  34. @Hants
    yes Neils is in zone 1, Hothersal Turning was too. There is no land policy in Barbados. Land changes use at the stroke of a pen or at the drop of some money, take your pick.


  35. If you are not selling, you must lease and leasing will have the same impact on supply.
    The Town Planning legislation is primarily discretionary and flexible; and EACH application is assessed on its OWN merit. Therefore creating an independent body outside the control of politicians would only empower that body with discretionary decision-making powers.
    Land use policy is dynamic, if it were not so all the heights and terraces would still be cane fields. The solution is to make more land available, improve plan/project delivery and promote a new paradigm for housing.
    The continued policy of prohibiting building in zone 1 areas is obsolescent. Aren’t pesticides and fertilisers used in agriculture also contaminants? Aren’t people already living in zone 1 areas legally? What about the areas we drill (ed) for oil? Clearly, the answer is to to deal with the waste disposal constraint rather than maintain the restrictions.
    Secondly, undertake the necessary remedial work in the Scotland District thus freeing up that land for various forms of agriculture. Moreover, address those distortions in the market e.g. the large number of housing subdivisions with planning permission that remain undeveloped. Remember the CTP complained last year?
    Finally, the TCPO/government needs to focus more on coordination, engagement and integration in the planning process in an effort to facilitate implementation. Too much emphasis is placed on development control—the same issue at the core of this thread.


    • If you are not selling, you must lease and leasing will have the same impact on supply.

      Which better for an island 166sq miles?

      The Town Planning legislation is primarily discretionary and flexible; and EACH application is assessed on its OWN merit. Therefore creating an independent body outside the control of politicians would only empower that body with discretionary decision-making powers.
      Land use policy is dynamic, if it were not so all the heights and terraces would still be cane fields. The solution is to make more land available, improve plan/project delivery and promote a new paradigm for housing.

      All TP decisions despite the talk about discretionary should be guided by policy and strategy.

      Secondly, undertake the necessary remedial work in the Scotland District thus freeing up that land for various forms of agriculture. Moreover, address those distortions in the market e.g. the large number of housing subdivisions with planning permission that remain undeveloped. Remember the CTP complained last year?

      Agree with you that we need to get creative, it is a pity your government wasted 14 yea

      rs in time of plenty when it could have been done. Despite the politics we need to get it done.

      Finally, the TCPO/government needs to focus more on coordination, engagement and integration in the planning process in an effort to facilitate implementation. Too much emphasis is placed on development control—the same issue at the core of this thread.

      All the pretty talk the TP department needs to be removed from under the thumb of the Prime Minister or minister for the obvious reasons.


  36. @Enuff

    1. The paradidgm shift could be allow swelling units to be more than two floors, we have to take an airial view to housing.

    2. When land is leased, the ownership is not chnaged. Yes there must be orderly planning of housing projects and that is why the TPD is there to ensure development standards are adhered to.

    3. An independent TPD does not mean that graff will be a thing of the past. Money speaks and he who plays the piper call the tune (hope the saying is in the correct order).

    4. Tell me how would you go about establishing a TPD(entity) free of political interference. If such a unit is established how would the top person be appointed?

    5. What type of remedial work would you recommned for the scotalnd district and which type of agriculture suits that terrain?


  37. Barbados should become food secure.

    However that would only happen if thr Tourism Industry and offshore business industry collapses and there is no foreign exchange to buy food.

    Bajans will not plant nutten wen dey got money to buy it.

    I gine discuss this later but I have to make up 2 invoices so I can continue buying food cause I en got nuh way to plant much an to besides de growin season is only 4 months.

    Wunna down dey got 12 months.


  38. There is nothing wrong with wealth* per se, i.e., owning land and so on, biblically, it IS* where your heart IS* focused, who or what is your God!

    As Jesus said, “For where your TREASURE* (i.e, land, house, car, stocks, etc, etc) IS* there your HEART* (desires, and so on) will be ALSO.” ( Matt.6:21 Emphasis added).

    There are some rich folks, here any elsewhere, who are SO miserable, insecure, as they are constantly faced with the possibility of LOOSING IT ALL, have no relationship with Christ.

    Yet, I personally know some old black grannies, who live in chattel houses, don’t have much of this world’s goods, BUT, Oh, they LOVE* Jesus with a passion, have HIS* PEACE* in their hearts, His JOY on their faces, never go to sleep hungry, AND, can’t wait to be with HIM* in GLORY when they die and leave this, so transient, temporal realm of existence.

    I know (knew) personally, two extremely successful black businessmen, right here in B’dos; they both amassed much wealth, properties, well respected, one is now dead, did NOT know who he WAS when he died, he worked assiduously in aquiring his wealth, money was his god*, the other one, well, he is now on the way out, with ALL his money, he still cannot by health.

    Do you think COW, Bizzy, and these two wealthy black men, could EVER have the Joy, Peace, and assurance of Eternal Life, that these poor, little grannies, HAVE* right NOW* and the exceeding weight of GLORY that waits them, with Jesus, when they die!!!???


  39. Hants
    The policy in Barbados with water zoning is that the only new houses to be built on Zone 1 are houses to replace existing ones or at least houses that were on the very spot within the last 12 years. Even those new houses on zone 1 must construct a septic tank with a filter bed, on Zone 2 , there must also be a septic tank but a basic tank is O.K.


  40. Hants
    The building cost varies according to the finishes the house owner wants, namely, the type of roof, tiles whether porclain or ceramic, all fixtures e.g bathroom/toilet, kitchen, laundry and light fixtures. Building cost, when I was in construction was between bds
    $ 250.00 to $ 350.00 per Sq.Ft for the average house, of course with the construction of an executive type house with top of the line fittings and fixtures and claytone roof, the building cost can be around bds $ 500.00 to $600.00 per sq.ft. There is a certain house built in Barbados about four to five years ago that cost over bds $ 125 million, most house owners in this bracket brings in their own interior designer who designs the bathrooms, bedroom, type and colour of tiles on the floor, house color scheme, where the lighting is to be placed etc.


  41. @ David
    It is directed by policy and strategy!! What else is the purpose of the PDP?
    Removed and placed where? You clearly do not understand the linkage between land use and overall government policy. The English system from which the Barbadian act is derived is essentially controlled by central government in spite of there being local government and councils. It is driven purely by political ideology, and as such is changed every time a different party is elected though the primary act remains untouched.
    I have no problem with a Minister in charge, once policy is evidence-based, coordinated and integrated. If persons feel wronged by the decisions of the CTP/Minister there are routes to seek redress in and outside of the courts.
    If you want planning removed from under the purview of a Minister lobby government to amend the act, and to be consistent you should ask for that to happen for all departments.

    @ Observer
    #2
    What is your argument? Protecting our silverware or increasing supply? My position is that leasing will do little if anything at all to increase supply.
    #3 and 4
    That is David’s position not mine.
    #5
    I haven’t a clue what suits that terrain, you would have to ask the specialists but I read somewhere the FAO did a study for government.


  42. @Enuff
    If peopledont want to seel,but wiiling to lease it will increase supply for a time.

    satbilising the Scotland distric is a very costly exercise. I am aware of the FAO study that was done.

    Sorry about referencing points 3 and 4 to you, so I now direct them to David.

    Have a nice day.


  43. Bizzy and cow take us for fools and regretfully some black folk are. Bizzy and cow plus their frieds drive up the price of land to make millions fronm foreigners and locals then ZBizzy attack the governement for big land price. What assness are we being told by this white mercenary? Bizzy lucky this isnt France when Marie Antonette the cake lady was around.


  44. @Cattlewash

    During the post emancaipation period, the middle class blacks emerged as a classand their strategy was to cow tow to the whites to get the crumbs from their table.

    Thus that is why when you have to attack the policies of the williams, blacks spring to their defence even though their policy might be impacting on the basisc frabic of barbadian society} the ability of ordianry blacks to own a piece of the litttle rock.

    ut then again, the williams can behave the way they do as they contribute to both political parties when elsction time comes around, thus some ploticians are in their hip pocket.


  45. Wouldn’t leasing address the issue of speculative buying?

    Would it not address the issue of reducing idle land i.e. someone leasing would likely have an incentive to produce on it?


    • @Moneybrain

      Many ‘condemn’ Bizzy for the influence he has on a small society which is driven by his narrow agenda.


  46. Yes, Govt has full authority and responsibility to set the details of land Use Policy. Furthermore which entity owns the most land in Bim? Government! COW is probably the number one private landowner. What should be strongly considered is that foreigners buying land is perfect for corrupt people, like politicians , to get paid OUTSIDE Bdos. Perfect actually. What do you think is the reason NOT to have comprehensive policy? Why dont we have Integrity Legislation?

    There are several CREATIVE solutions like demanding that for every project approved for sale to foreigners that a major housing project must be built for lower income Bajans.(ratio could be say 5L:1F) Another concept could be that 2X the cost of the property must be invested in Bim, and /or minimum hours of FREE consulting services towards strengthening Mid-Small size local entrepreneurs.

    Far too many writers here want to condemn Bizzy for telling the truth. Also, they seem eager to condemn success instead of encouraging. The stupidity of racist attacks on Bizzy is ironic since the man had the honesty to marry qute a dark lady. The Williams brothers employ many peeps on the island, many of whom might not have a job or as good a lifestyle without their projects.

    While I agree that far more land should be under proper agricultural production there are 3 problems with executing this effectively 1 monkeys destroting crops, 2 predial larceny, 3 bad attitudes to agriculture resulting from negative historical connotations and such being fed by self serving political rhetoric.
    Remember The Dipper saying that he wished to see the day when there was not a blade of cane growing. He was indeed right in my opinion from the perspective of profitable land use but he was mis-understood by many.


  47. @Observer
    I absolutely agree that all Bajans should have the opportunity to own land BUT it is not Williams’s fault, it is lack of proper Govt Policy. While I understand that if you are white you are actually wrong and if you are rich white you could never be right, this standard of thinking???? is NOT going to get the poorer black peeps anywhere.

    @Zoe
    I agree that it is easier for a rich man to fit through the eye of a needle than in to the Kingdom of God there is a story in the Bible regarding the Talons which suggests that resources should be employed productively. The good book also has favourable passages on slavery too! (to me that is very questionable)


  48. @ David
    Aren’t the speculators Bajans living at home and abroad?
    @ Moneybrain
    “There are several CREATIVE solutions like demanding that for every project approved for sale to foreigners that a major housing project must be built for lower income Bajans.”

    Amendment in 2007 I think–Sections 32f – 32h


  49. @enuff

    You would not see developers constucting high end projects buliding lower end project in near proximity as they would argue they would devalue their high end project.

    @Moneybrain

    I dont understand your simplistic logic about employing people who might not be employed. Capital needs labour to grow so any argrument that a favour is done by employing people is contradictory to capitalism.

    It is unfortuante that you think the williams are being singled out, and by the way the lady he is married to is a related to me by blood, i am not envious of the williams, and if you think that they are model employers and in a county where 97% of the poulation is black, what is the compostion of his board, directly put how many blacks on his board?


  50. David what do you think is Bizzy’s narrow agenda?

    I always thought he was a good Employer and Investor who did not agree with his brother’s land acquisition agenda.

    I believe land use policy in Barbados needs to be revamped.

    It is lunacy to allow idle agricultural land to become rab land.
    It is lunacy for an Island in the Tropics to import most of its food.

    It is lunacy for Bajans to think that the world economy will always allow little Barbados to sustain a First world standard of living.


    • @Hants – 2011/05/24 at 7:50 PM

      What is Bizzy’s position on agriculture?

      What % of his business holdings is allocated to agriculture?

      BU understands this is a subject near and dear to your heart.


  51. @Observer
    If you dont understand my simplistic logic then I shall refrain from utilising my SOPHISTICATED logic!
    Where did I say that the Williams’s are model employers? I have not conducted the minimal quantity of research to verify that. I do know of a few instances where they have helped employees financially(significantly) in times of serious personal crisis.

    The bottom line is that creating negative feelings based on race, wealth and the like is NOT conducive to job creation and raising the standard of living in Bim. The fact is that if all the white people vanished from Bdos tomorrow it would not indicate the advent of prosperity for the lower half of Bajan society. Naturally, if that were accomplished by violent means then Bdos would be ruined since tourists, off-shore investors and most other white $$$$ would go elsewhere.

    Conclusion is that black Bajans are dependent on white people money. I do agree that this does not suggest that whites should run amok BUT alienating them is counter-productive.

    @Hants
    Agree with your points, but then we are HC bros, so such matters might be clearer for us than some others.


  52. observer | May 24, 2011 at 10:30 AM |

    Listen up Observer you right Moneybrain is Bizzy or somebody he paying, COW boards dont have on a single black director bias Moneybrain talking pup about model employer.
    Its government who employs Cow and Bizzy thats where the fast money comes from which gives them the loose lips to boast to the BBC how they own Barbados .
    A Trinidadian whiteman told me Cow told him he owns everything in Barbados theres no reason to doubt the Trinidadian .
    Nobody dont want Cow and the white people money although it come from slave labour then black governments but dont come here treating us like retards. Bizzy/Cow is a main cause why land prices high not government what a**hole nonsense Moneybrain talking. What black people dependent on white people money what.


  53. @moneybrain

    the reason come to barbados in preference to other countries is because of the infrsatructure and an educated workforce. Capital need a reliable supply of labour. By the way a number of whites went to australia and newzealnd after independent and where did a lot of them did return home as they did not get the social acceptance in those countries.

    Employers do not labour a favour by employing people, they are investing to increase their capital base, so what foolishness are you talking. Understand the dynamics between labour and capital before you speak and by the wayI am not Harrison college trained, but i understand the issues between labour and capital

    I knowot emplyers who assit their employees financially in time of needs as well, so the williams are not the only ones. By the way, i am not paid to blog.


  54. @Spice and Co
    Have you had your prescription reviewed by a qualified optometrist recently? Where did I say Bizzy is a model employer?

    You contradict yourself by saying Govt employs Bizzy and COW and that is how they became wealthy. So why did Govt, overwhelmingly black run, favour white people if they did not perform their services any better than black competitors?

    You should also check your medical prescriptions because your ranting proves that your education was pointless. You have NOT substantiated one point you have feebilly attempted to make.

    Are you so ignorant that you cant comprehend the role of Govt in setting Land Use Policy? In order to be at that level you mussee went school at the PIPE on Saturdays during August. You claim nobody want white people money. BS! The Pols will take money from anybody with paper featuring DEAD PMs, Presidents or the Queen.

    Your Trini contact got you turn FOOL! How COW owns Bdos? You like you would believe ANYTHING! Indeed, I have some waterfront property in Lake Okee, FLA that i woul let you have unbelievably cheap!

    White people $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ TOURISM, OFF-SHORE etc is what keeps Bdos afloat. How much money coming to BIM from Africa?

    @OBSERVER
    I can assure you I have a proven track record in really understanding LABOUR and CAPITAL because if I did not, then why am I a DECI MILLIONAIRE? (made independtly in Canada) How is your vast knowledge working out for you Mr UWI grad?
    You keep bringing this up but have FAILED miserably to make any point with your Labour / capital words. You sounding like a psuedo fake intellectual but without the style or substance, please create something worthy of response.

    The bottom line is that if the Govt fails to create the right atmosphere for Capital inflows then Labour, represented by real living Bajans, will SUFFER! I am sure your text books teach some fantasyland connections which I probably REJECTED like SHAQ a very long time ago. Economics texts are notorious for spewing abject nonsense, after all Keynes is still very highly regarded.

    I will now lend clarification as to why I bother to write on this site.
    It is to present BALANCE, its because I am a son of the soil and deeply care about all Bajans and BIM, it is to help enlighten those who want to just bitch about white people and play VICTIM instead of working cleverly to get ahead. I dont have any serious money there or connection to the Williams’s or other successful Bajan families like Symmonds, Millers, Motleys et al.


  55. @ Observer
    “You would not see developers constucting high end projects buliding lower end project in near proximity as they would argue they would devalue their high end project.”

    Wrong!!! This type of spatial manifestation is evident all over Barbados especially the West Coast.


  56. Better use needs to be made of our scarce land space! T&CPO must allow domestic housing to be up to 4 storeys where practical including a sub-basement. We need to build UP. Large scale Commercial development must be allowed only if 2 or 3 levels of parking are attached in some way. Land is too valuable to persist with large expanses of parking at grade.
    NHC must stop building small single family units on small lots! The country cannot afford this. Multi-storey housing is the way to go with properly designed units in well chosen locations. By the way , which Building Code allows 4-storey housing without an elevator?


  57. @Moneybrain

    I am very happy with what little i have earned over the yeras and was able to educate one young lady to become a doctor.

    What I have acquired, I have done it through investments. i have no robbed anybody, and by the way becoming a millionaire is not difficult and I dont have to tell you if I am one or not, but I can enjoy a decent living. Mr. Gloater.
    I have passed through the univeristy doors three times, and I not ,ean physically pass through.

    You remeber me of the days of the house nigger, the acquire little weatlh and they think that is all, for that reason that is why you suffer from pychological trambosis and dont know where you belong.

    Take this as my last blog in responding to you RICH INTELLIGENT MAN .


  58. @Observer
    You are certainly to be commended for providing for your daughter’s education, that in itself is worth more than a million $.

    Just remember you started attacking me first and you came off as an academic not as an applier of knowledge. Further you did not adequately provide support for your POV but appeared to just want to spew a few words at me. I would be the first to confess that I become very annoyed by purely academic approaches that dont stand up to common sense and practical observation. If you met me you would never guess that i had an above average net worth and certainly I would never say I do.


  59. @Bush Tea | May 22, 2011 at 10:25 PM |
    “Land sold…. Businesses sold….. Bartel sold…..Electric Company sold… Our expensively educated young people on the Block…We are headed right back to pre-emancipation status.”

    not quite…we are headed for post-emancipation status… to the 1937 riots era but it will be the 201.. riots for land.. i smell the stench in the air whenever i travel around bimshire


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