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Two Barbadoses in existence

There certainly seems to be two Barbadoses. One where young people who have used their education well and are doing responsible jobs still can’t afford to buy a house lot, far less build a home (especially since the removal of their tax free allowances), and the other one where some people are allowed to “squat” on other people’s land, use water illegally, and nothing seems to be done about it.

We often hear of our archaic laws being changed – even our constitution is changed quite easily from time to time – so one may ask how come this ridiculous Limitations and Prescription Act, which apparently gives these squatters some rights to the land they have occupied, is still on our statute books?

Apart from this law which apparently gives squatters rights if they have occupied the land for more than ten years, what about the Town and Country Planning regulations? I was under the impression that one had to apply to that department for permission to erect structures. Are these squatters also exempt from this regulation?

Recently we saw blatant infringements of the Town and Country Planning regulations being legalised in Parliament so that Government’s plan of giving over Government housing to those who had paid their rent for 20 years could be facilitated and, I assume, the powers that be could be seen as the “saviours of (some of) the people”.

But what of those who have no hope of owning “a piece of the rock” because their salaries have been severely diminished and because greedy land developers seem to be able to charge whatever they please for land? Are they not Barbadians too and shouldn’t their needs also be met?

With regard to the Town Planning regulations, I heard a case on a call-in programme yesterday where a lady whose house had been destroyed or badly damaged by Tropical Storm Tomas said that having received no assistance from Government, she and her partner saved and bought the materials and rebuilt the house on the exact spot that it had stood for the last 50 years.

Now apparently the Town Planning Department says it must come down because it is too close to the road. So, 10 years can give a squatter legal rights, but 50 years does not give this lady any rights? If the reported claims are correct, this can’t be fair.

I said it before and I will say it again, in my opinion, politicians in this country are encouraging a nation of lawless mendicants. Is this what the majority of citizens want? If we don’t we need to say so in no uncertain terms and not let these troubling issues be nine-day wonders.

As another lady noted on a call-in programme recently, we need to stand up and say “No”. I believe she was specifically referring to the robberies associated with the “Cash for Gold” trade where the public is apparently being asked to avoid the problem by not wearing their jewellery, rather than the police and the courts confronting it and dealing with it.

Where is this country going?

– Dr. Frances Chandler

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