Discussion: Throughout the 2020 election campaign, the opposition New Democratic Party has repeatedly claimed that it was their administration that championed land reform, making lands available for ordinary Vincentians.
Investigations into this claim reveal that the NDP is correct to a great deal.
The NDP managed to acquire lands at Mount Wynne/Peters’ Hope for hotel development under the James Mitchell-led administration (1984 to 2001). The administration had also acquired lands at Canegrove for agriculture. The NDP also bought several estates and subdivided them for distribution to people at Rabbaca, Colonaire, San Souci, and Diamond.
The Unity Labour Party built upon some of these achievements, namely the Mount Wynne/Peters Hope area where the ULP administration started the process of selling lands for hotel development.
There are also instances where both parties have had to acquire land from private citizens for different types of developments during their respective tenures in office.
But, while the NDP can boast about land reform, they made a few moves that can be classified as errors. For instance, the NDP administration leased two-thirds of Canouan island to developers on October 31, 1990, in a 99-year agreement for hotel development.
The annual income from this lease agreement is embarrassing.
While the ULP administration does not have a land reform record as the NDP, credit must be given to them for a few important land decisions. One of these is their move to fight developers in the courts to regain, in 2009, over 100 acres of land at Chatham Bay, Union Island.
This reopened access to the beach area which impeded for quite a while by developers who failed to develop the property in accordance with the relevant legal agreements for foreign landholding licenses.
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