The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines owes EC$33 million for lands acquired at Argyle for the construction of the Argyle International Airport, which opened in February 2017.
Payment is yet to be made for 125 plots, some for which titles have been presented .
Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves made the disclosure in Parliament on Tuesday in response to a question from opposition legislator Arnhim Eustace.
The East Kingstown Member of Parliament asked the minister to say what is the value of the land taken by the government at Argyle which was used for the construction of the airport and still not yet paid for.
Eustace also wanted to know when would such payments be made.
Gonsalves said that the land for which payment is yet to be made are divided into two categories: lands with deeds, and lands where ownership issues remain unsettled.
“And the majority of those 125 plots are lands which we are still trying to ascertain who to pay because there is no deed for the land,” he said.
“As at June 7, the outstanding amount for the lands with deeds was $19.4 million inclusive of interest, while the sum owed on the lands without deeds was $13.7 million inclusive of interest,” he said, adding that the exact total is EC$33,109,354.
“The government and the IADC are currently completing a plan to address the settlement of these amounts owed to these remaining land owners. We continue to work to try to ascertain land ownership issues because that has been a very lengthy process in some cases and even though the majority still are without deeds, that number has been falling as we have been working to resolve that issue.
“I don’t have today a date I can give you with specificity but the plan is on-going and we hope to announce the details of the plan in this current year,” Gonsalves said.
Meanwhile, Gonsalves told lawmakers that the International Airport Development Company, the state-owned firm that built the EC$700 million airport, and the government adopted a two-pronged strategy in respect of the lands that were required for the construction of AIA.
First, face-to-face negotiations were held with each of the 142 owners of built property to arrive at a mutually agreed price in each case.
By Nov. 30, 2017, this objective was achieved and all 142 owners of built properties were fully compensated to the tune of EC$60,132,670.
Also, to allow IADC to take possession of the vacant lands — including farm — at the site needed to construct the airport, the government issued three acquisition orders in April 2008, July 2009, and October 2010.
As at Nov. 30, 2017, the IADC had paid out EC$53,825,827 on those lands.
This Government, is so lacking in credibility, it is utterly disgraceful to say the least! When in the past Peter Binose and others had raised this matter of these unpaid land owners, both the Government and its mouthpiece had denied that there were any such unpaid individuals and now here we are, with the Government telling Parliament, that there are indeed such.
This now begs the question, can we here believe that the Government is now finally telling us the whole truth! Oh, oh, oh! How we so need that “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL”! And what feeble excuses after all these years of non-payment.
You are quite right, thanks for mentioning Peter Binose, I looked up what he wrote and found this
The government took a portion of our land in the Vermont mountain area to put the water tank, it has been well over 25 years to date we have yet to see a penny.
I wonder if the ULP FM factor those expenses into their 2019 billion dollar budget? It seems that we are now (figuratively) living off our own flesh. This is a rat race to the bottom in a manner of speaking. How can poor people afford to keep these Jackasses in power?
Those NDP propagandists, like the person writing above and Peter Binose, the man who faked his own death but continues to write using other aliases because his many claims that AIA would never receive official acreditation by overseas aviation bodies were totally false and based on fabricated “evidence,” who falsely claim that farmers at Argyle were ripped off are continuing to peddle fake news, as I have already shown (https://www.iwnsvg.com/2017/11/05/the-landowners-of-argyle-were-not-cheated/) and as the parliamentary response from the Minister of Finance also shows.
Tell me, who but a complete idiot (or scamp) would purchase and pay for land which lacks clear ownership via a possessory deed or other legal means?
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