St Vincent government sells land to villagers at EC$0.10 cents per sq ft

PMRalphGonsalvesAKingstown, St Vincent (CMC) — The St Vincent and the Grenadines government Monday presented instruments to 185 persons in the Central Leeward town of Barrouallie allowing them to purchase lands at EC$0.10 cents per square foot.

Some of the families have been living on the lands for as long as 80 years.

The 612,460 square feet of land in Glebe Hill on St Vincent’s east coast originally belonged to the Anglican Church but was conveyed to the Christian Council in the mid 1980s.

The government paid the Christian Council EC$306,230, or EC$0.50 cents per square foot, a price significantly below the market price of three to five EC dollars per square foot.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, speaking at the presentation ceremony, said the Anglican Church had conveyed the lands freely and voluntarily to the Christian Council to be sub-divided to landless parishioners.

He, however, noted that the Anglican Church never said that the lands must be given away.

“They say 50 cents. I say that is a bargain. But, in light of how long the people have been there, we gave them at 10 cents per square foot,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves also responded to his critics, saying that some have said on radio that the land should be given to the people without any charge.

He however said that those critics were in power for 17 years and never gave the land to the people, a reference to the New Democratic Party (NDP), which came to office in 1984 and was voted out in 2001.

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