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Bushed – more or less


Bushed – more or less

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NO REASONABLE GOVERNMENT would undertake the selling of $10 million worth of property to recover less than eight per cent in value as a debt, while the same Government sits casually on mounting claims against it for significantly more.

The timely clearing of bush off privately owned land in Barbados is a problem that arises chiefly from absentee land ownership, an investment in the only appreciating asset in the island.

Ownership of land in Barbados is primarily an investment in real estate; not in satisfaction of any demand for shelter.

Maintenance of that investment is deemed to be taken care of by the levy of land tax, among other liabilities.

Direct payment for infrastructure and utilities as for services rendered are justified; but in a country where legal title to land is not derived from the Crown, it is difficult to justify the levy of land tax payable, in addition to user fees for all utilities.

The punitive practice of selling more to recover much less of the value of an asset as a debt is iniquitous and usurious.

The recovery of the cost of public maintenance of privately owned land is already provided for by less draconian means than the sale of the baby to pay for the bathwater.

The courts could use garnishment or community service – or the hard labour of convicts – to minimise the cost of “debushing programmes”.

By the way, the derelict eyesore believed to be Government-owned at the north-east corner of the Coleridge Street-Lucas Street-James Street junction should long ago have been demolished to increase car parking for which contiguous land is used to generate income.