You can now listen to Antigua News articles!
The government of Antigua and Barbuda says the sale of lands on the island of Barbuda is imminent.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated that the sale is now in its advanced stages and will soon be available to private individuals and other interested parties.
The sale of lands in Barbuda will also be open to Antiguans as part of the government’s policy to promote a unitary state.
The prime minister expects the policy to take effect in a few months, possibly by the end of the first quarter 2024.
PM Browne believes that the sale of lands in Barbuda will help to empower the island’s residents, as land ownership is a crucial means of creating wealth.
He commended his administration’s efforts in making tough decisions for the benefit of the people of Barbuda, which are now bearing positive results.
BPM Leader Trevor Walker has vowed to continue fighting the selling of lands in Barbuda, despite having exhausted all legal avenues to halt the process.
Along with Mackenzie Frank, Walker had brought a case against the Attorney General arguing that lands on the sister isle are owned in common, but lost their case at the country’s final appellate court last June.
This cleared the way for central government to proceed with the Barbuda land registry.
However, Walker insists that campaigners are looking at ways to continue their cause, even though they have already gone to the Privy Council.
The selling of land is not supported by the majority of Barbudans, according to the MP, who says that only a small minority who support the Labour Party are in favor of what the Prime Minister is doing.
Despite claims that Barbudans are opposed to outsiders owning land on the island, Walker clarified that people from all over live and lease land on the island, but selling land is the main issue.
Despite protests, central government is moving forward with its plans, and the issue of Barbudan land has been a hot topic in Antigua and Barbuda for decades.
The Paradise Found Act 2015, which nullified critical sections of the Barbuda Land Act 2007, prompted the BPM members to mount the Barbuda lands case. They contended that Barbuda’s land was owned in common by all Barbudans and that the Paradise Found Act was therefore unconstitutional.
The government lost an earlier application to have the case struck out by a lower court, but the matter was subsequently sent to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which sided with the government.
The case was then taken to the country’s final appellate court, the London-based Privy Council, which last year upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling.