“Atherley has questions about land acquisition”

joseph-atherley

OPPOSITION LEADER Bishop Joseph Atherley wants Government to answer several questions concerning its decision to compulsorily acquire the land occupied by the Liquidation Centre on Lower Bay Street, St Michael.

During debate in the House of Assembly yesterday, he asked: “Why is it that the state has to intervene and acquire this property? Why is it that developers who, by all implications or indications, should be in a financial or economic position to privately negotiate for the purchase of this property, not face the music and face the piper?

“Why is that not the route being taken? What is the fair market value of the property?” he asked Minister of Housing and Lands George Payne, who introduced the resolution.

Atherley sought to make a case for landowners faced with the prospect of surrendering their property to Government.

He raised the issue of fairness and transparency in such a transaction.

In the case of the land on Lower Bay Street, he said: “This property is a beachfront property and if we attribute to this, for this purpose, a value which is below market value, what is the signal we are sending to other current beachfront property owners?

“It has implications for the value attaching to other properties,” he maintained, while asking with regard to the business of the Liquidation Centre: “Is there a displacement cost attached . . . and what happens to the people’s stock?”

The land is being acquired for the Hyatt Centric Hotel project, which Atherley said had “much negativity and controversy” surrounding it not too long ago. (GC)