FULL STORY: Not selling
AN ELDERLY St Lucy woman and her son say they are being harassed for their property by Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman and ministry officials.
Everton Edwards, 66, and his 86-year-old mother Marjorie are claiming that officials from the ministry have been pestering them for their four acres of land at Crab Hill, next to the North Stars Cricket Club.
The land, which the family has owned for 62 years, has apparently been earmarked for recreational purposes.
An upset Edwards said he was contacted three weeks ago by an official who informed him that the ministry was willing to offer him a million dollars for the property, which includes his childhood home.
“He called and asked if I would accept a million dollars and I told him no. I don’t want no million dollars,”Edwards said. “He told me that if I accepted the money the matter would be taken to Cabinet immediately for approval.” Edwards said the property was actually valued at over $2 million.
Edwards, who lived overseas for many years but recently moved back to Barbados, charged that it has been over two years that Kellman, the MP for St Lucy, and officers from the ministry have been “bombarding” him for the land.
“Every time I come back to Barbados they call me and harass me,” he said. The situation had so upset his mother, he added, that she was crying every day out of fear that her land would
be taken away.
“My father bought this land in 1952, built this house in 1953 and he died in 1954 when I was only six years old, leaving this property for me and my mother,” he said.
He said Kellman first approached him about the land in 1996.
“He told me that they needed it to build a soccer field, then it was for basketball, then to host international tennis matches and then a pavilion for the cricket club. I kept telling him no and now they are telling me they need it for parking.”
He recalled that in 2012 he had a meeting with Kellman and other officials from the ministry at the North Stars Club.
“They had all the papers pertaining to my land and they told me at the meeting that they want my property for expansion of North Stars to hold international matches. I told Mr Kellman in front of the Permanent Secretary and others that I was not selling my parents’ property and I am not swapping either; that the only way they can get this from me is if they take it from me and I would be going down fighting.
“My mother has retired and come back to Barbados to live in her house in comfort. All of her family and friends live around here and they come
and look after her. We are not moving her from here.”
Sobbing uncontrollably, his mother said she was afraid that her house and land would be taken away.
When contacted, Kellman admitted that the land was earmarked for development purposes but refused to expand on that.
He also denied that the ministry had offered Edwards a million dollars, saying that it was the owner who came up with the figure and it was verified by ministry surveyors.
Charging that Opposition members were influencing the Edwards family, Kellman said there was no need to make it a negative situation.
“It has always been a land policy of Government that we should not take anybody’s land without finding out what they want which could be monetary value or land swap. If we have a right to acquire land they have a right to say what they want either land or monetary compensation. They are free not to accept our offer but we are doing something that is in the public interest.”
The minister said it was important to bring development to the area and it was all in keeping with plans to develop Stroude Bay, Archers Bay and Harrison Point.
Please read the full story in today’s SUNDAY SUN, or in the eNATION edition.