“Government moves to take Mrs Ram’s land”

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GOVERNMENT HAS MOVED to compulsorily acquire the lands in Bay Street, The City, owned by businesswoman Asha “Mrs Ram” Mirchandani.

A contentious debate in the House of Assembly yesterday saw Minister of Housing and Lands George Payne (below) clashing with Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley over the acquisition of the property which is earmarked for the planned Hyatt Centric Hotel development.

The resolution seeking approval under Section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act for the compulsory acquisition by the Crown of 7 328 square metres of land at Lower Bay Street “for the public purpose of tourism development”, was introduced by Payne.

george-payneHe said the land was “being acquired for a public purpose in the area of tourism development from an individual”. He added it was “the intention of Government to engage a private developer with respect to the tourism aspect of it”.

Payne told the House: “I have determined as Minister of Housing that as part of Government’s plans to revitalise Bridgetown and to enhance the tourism product, the property which is owned by Tiny Tots Ltd, currently occupied by an enterprise under the name of Liquidation Centre, would be required for tourism development.” He added Cabinet agreed to the acquisition on February 14 and it was expected “that after the acquisition, the property will be vested in the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc., which in turn will transfer the property to a private developer”.

Payne said the relevant notices had been published and the authorisations under Section 4 of the act were signed by the Acting Governor General on May 2. (GC)