Drax Hall land pause

Government has rolled back a decision to acquire 50 acres of land in St George which was earmarked for lower and lower/middle income housing.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley last night, as controversy continued to swirl around the debate on expected reparations from centuries-old owners of land at Drax Hall, St George.

In a video statement, Mottley also confirmed that although discussions on reparation amounts continued with the Drax family, she was far from satisfied with the pace of those talks.

“Given the conversation, I believe that it is appropriate for us to pause the acquisition to allow for greater conversation to take place, and also for us to be able to see where we are, in terms of being able to get some kind of reasonable settlement with Mr Drax recognising that in our conversations, without prejudice to anything else, he is aware that the Government of Barbados feels strongly about this and will pursue these matters,” Mottley said.

She admitted there was a lot of conversation recently about the acquisition of the 50 acres of land at Drax Hall for low and lower/middleincome housing by the Minister of Housing and Lands, Dwight Sutherland.

On Monday, outspoken pan-Africanist and MP, Trevor Prescod said the Government would be setting a bad precedent to pay the Drax family $8 million for the acquisition of the land earmarked for the housing project.

Prescod, who is Special Envoy in Mottley’s office with responsibility for reparations, urged the Prime Minister to take the issue to the populace.

Mottley last night said: “I understand the concerns of many Barbadians who may feel that they have been robbed of the opportunity of having an inappropriate settlement for the reparations that ought to be made as a result of the blood, sweat and tears of Barbadians over centuries. I want to make it clear this is not a matter that we take lightly.”

The St Michael North East MP noted that the Tenantry Freehold Purchase Act was enacted and dealt with by successive governments because of the need to make reparations for people whose ancestors were forced to live in some of the harshest conditions and were deprived of all opportunities to make the best for themselves and their families.

“So we get the concept of reparations both domestically, and also as we have been doing, internationally. The reality is we have been at the forefront of making the call for reparations against those who contributed to the decimation of this country, and the lives of people, while at the same time enriching themselves and building out the Industrial Revolution,” Mottley said in her statement to the media.

Rule of law

“But at the same time, I need to remind us that Barbados is a country governed by the rule of

law. We have never made it a habit where we have expropriated people’s land. When people have land that is the subject of compulsory acquisition, by law we are due to pay for it.”

She noted, however, that does not preclude Government from aggressively pursuing through both advocacy and, in recent times, through the preparation of what are its legal options concerning being able to take action, not only against the owners of Drax Plantation, but also against all others who had contributed to the condition of Barbados being regrettably one of the worst examples of modern racism in the Americas.

Mottley said Barbados believes there is a justifiable case for the island to mount on the issue of reparations.

The post Drax Hall land pause appeared first on nationnews.com.

Leave a Reply