Nation e-Edition

‘Need surely for vacant lots law’

Thu, September 20, 2012 - 12:06 AM

LEGISLATION MIGHT be the long-term solution to the problem of overgrown vacant lots across Barbados.

Responding to concerns expressed by the Union Community Association in St Philip yesterday, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said maintenance of empty lots could be a costly exercise and legislation mandating that landowners keep the land “a certain fashion” seemed to be the answer.

“The process, as I understand, is you need to write to the landowner, you need to give them time to rectify the lot, and then the Ministry of Health can go in. But by the time the Ministry of Health goes in and cleans, three months later the lot is back to the same situation, it’s a recurring problem….It’s a real problem that we need to address,” he said, adding that he recently visited a district where rats were coming from an overgrown lot.

Chairman of the association, Selvin Burton, said that maintaining the vacant lots was a “major problem”, but he confirmed that they would get assistance from the Ministry of Health occasionally. (YB)

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Posted by Pan Wallie 1 year, 11 months ago
Good community work, but this kind of beautification is promoting lawlessness among indifferent people. How long have we heard about legislation being the long term solution to many things? How long will it take to amend the law to allow Govt to clean up these lots and add the cost to the owner's tax bills? Clearly somebody pays the taxes and wants to retain ownership of the land.Then here's an avenue of employment for some including inmates, those owing child maintenance and the generally unemployed.

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Posted by RANDY BRIDGEMAN 1 year, 11 months ago
Given the huge number of vacant, unkempt, unsightly lots around our nation, it is indeed a costly proposition for the government to clear/debush and maintain them. After all, tools/equipment must be purchased intermittently; workers must be paid. Perhaps I'm wrong, but as I understand, landowners aren't required to reimburse the government for servicing their vacant lots.

The Honorable AG may be onto something when he suggests that legislation may be in the offing to address this problem. Perhaps part of the legislation to be enacted could stipulate that if the landowner doesn't clear and maintain his/her lot in a reasonable manner/time frame, when the government steps in, said owner would be required to pay back a sum which would include a penalty fee. Perhaps too, this amount could be added to the owner's land tax bill payable annually.

Needless to say, if owners take care of their lots as they ought, there won't be a problem. But the idea of punitive measures for offenders may not go over too well with some lot owners. However, I believe the government must put its foot down in this instance, if this unacceptable state of affairs is to be turned around. Fair legislation married to consistent enforcement is the key to effective action on their part.

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