Gov’t halts acquisition of land at Middle and Carmichael streets; AG to submit report
Government has halted the move to acquire a section of the private land at Lot 92 Middle and Carmichael streets, Georgetown.
During a Press Conference on Friday, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon disclosed that the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams has been given one week to submit a report to Cabinet on the acquisition of the land. The decision was taken at Tuesday’s meeting of Cabinet, in the absence of the AG.
Following concerns raised “Cabinet decided that the Minister of Legal and Affairs Attorney General is to provide a report to it on this matter, then cabinet will make a decision. In the interim, nothing more is to be done on this matter of the acquisition until such time that the AG presents his report and cabinet deliberates on it” Harmon said.
According to the Official Gazette of September 24, a section of the land is described as follows: “East quarter of Lot numbered 92 …Middle and Carmichael Streets …with all the buildings and erections thereon, save and except the building and erections situate on sub-lot lettered ‘A’ part of the said quarter lot the property of Patrick L. O’Dowd, and save and except the said sub-lot `A’ as shown and defined on a plan by Sugreen A. Nehaul, Sworn Land Surveyor, dated 19th June 1947, and deposited in Deeds Registry on 26th June, 1947, transported to the said Patrick L. O’ Dowd on 23rd May, 1960 – No.910” will be acquired for the construction of government buildings.
The Order was signed by Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson.
According to reports, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration had attempted to purchase the land to extend the Office of the Attorney General, however, it was unsuccessful.
In a statement from the Private Sector Commission (PSC) recently cautioned the government that when invoking their right to acquire private property for public use and to ensure that adequate transparency, thought, public consultations and justifications are made to avoid unnecessary controversy.
“Such moves by any government are always viewed with a high level of skepticism and reservation by investors globally. Whilst such acts may be legal, they dampen investor confidence as they deem their right to own properties to be insecure, and their investments to be under threat,” the PSC said.
The Private Sector Commission said the current transaction being pursued has caused many owners of private property to be in a state of trepidation and called on the government to clarify their policy and position on this matter.