The Paradise Found Bill - a response
PARADISE FOUND PROJECT BILL 2015 18th October 2015
- The Bill is a direct circumvention of the proceedings currently before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Justice: MACKENZIE FRANK V ATTORNEY GENERAL AND COUNCIL (Frank represents the supporters of the Barbuda Peoples Movement). The hearing of this case is due in December 2015. People never objected to 251 acre Dream Company lease proceeding. (see Ralph Francis submission).
- The Bill is a direct undermining of the 2007 Barbuda Land Act passed by Parliament. The 2007 Act provided for the DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION OF PEOPLE IN LAND ALIENATION TO FOREIGN INTERESTS. This participation was one of the recommendations of the 2000 COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT REPORT to Government. It stated that no lands for development should be leased without the “CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE”.
- The Bill Eliminates Sections 30 and 31 of The Barbuda Land Act 2007 which provides that, “UNTIL THE CONSITUTION IS AMENDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBSECTION(1) NO AMENDMENT SHALL BE MADE TO THIS ACT WITHOUT THE CONSENT GIVEN BY THE COUNCIL AND THE PEOPLE OF BARBUDA” . This Bill clearly amends the 2007 Land Act.
- The Bill breaches the property rights of all Barbudans and is a contravention of section 9 of the constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, which provides that no property should be compulsory taken from anyone .
- 1THE BILL INTERPRETATION: LEASED LANDS - Who are the SUBSIDARIES and AFFILIATES? Future leases of land is an open commitment that will be abused. SCHEDULE 1 makes it clear that Paradise will be given more land for future projects. This is a draconian measure. It totally ignores the existing Law (2007 Land Act) that provides for the democratic participation of the people and the elected Council.
- 2PARADISE FOUND: Who is Paradise Found? When was it registered as a company in Antigua and Barbuda? When did it purchase Dream Company? What did it pay the owners. Why was the Council not informed. Why did the people not benefit one iota from the sale of the lease?
- 3THE PROJECT: This agreement of 3rd Nov. 2014 was ultra vires the Barbuda Land Act 2007 which provides that the proposal must be brought to the Council and the people first. (Section 17 Barbuda Land Act 2007and Section 4 of regs.).The process was done back to front! No details of the projects as required by the Law and regulations were ever supplied.
- GRANT OF LEASES: (3,1—3) All powers given to the Council and People to determine the granting of Leases have be summarily removed. This includes the period, the registration of the lease in Barbuda registry, the collection of all revenues from lease, and the lease period has being effectively increased to 199 years. ALL THESE MEASURES ARE CONTRARY TO 2007 BARBUDA LAND ACT. The only performance clause is if the PROJECT IS NOT STARTED IN 60 MONTHS (5 YEARS), 140 ACRES WILL REVERT TO THE Crown.
RENT ----$62,000 per annum - a grossly undervalued sum for over 1200 + acres of land.
- NON-APPLICATION OF SECTIONS 6, 17, 19 OF THE BARBUDA LAND ACT 2007. (SECTIONS 4,5,&6)
These sections completely eliminate ANY participation by the PEOPLE AND COUNCIL of Barbuda.
- REGISTRATION OF LEASES: All revenues that the Council may have gained from the registration process have being removed. All taxes from leases also impacted.
- OBLIGATIONS OF PARADISE FOUND: 1) Wrong for Paradise to do EIA. Govt. should do this Paradise should pay as part of registration of interest. 2)PRINCESS DIANA beach should not be arbitrarily move by Paradise. Area established after popular consultation with people of the island. 3) EXCULSION OF VENDORS AND TRADERS FROM AREA BETWEEN COCO POINT AND K-CLUB AND AFFRONT TO TAXI DRIVERS AND PERSONS WHOM HAVE TRADED WITH YACHTS FOR YEARS. BAN ON CRUISE SHIP VISITORS NOT RIGHT ( Excellence Catamaran has used this site in the past.) A SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC DIS-INCENTIVE!
- GOVERNMENT PERMISSIONS: 1)Internet and Television rights all contradict existing local provisions. 2) Road re-routing an exclusive power of the Barbuda Council (see Barbuda Local Government Act 1976 as amended). 3)Docking provisions will affect existing yachting arrangements. 4) Casino permission has not being aired for community to make an input. 5)Waiver of all non citizens landholding licences, stamp duty, are a matter of concern for revenue to run the Government of the island. The Council has powers to raise revenues in these areas under sections 18 (2e) and 40(1-2) of the 1976 Act.
- CIP APPROVAL OF THE PROJECT: THEY HAS BEEN NO CONSULTATION OR CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE OF THE ISLAND.
- ABST: THE COUNCIL HAS EXCLUSIVE AUTHORITY TO COLLECT THIS TAX. The 2006 ABST ACT WAS AMENDED IN 2007 TO RECOGNISE THIS FACT. This Bill will again remove another source of revenue for the Council. In this regard the current proposition is illegal given that this an entrenched provision of the Local Government Act 1976 as amended.
- IMPORT, EXCISE AND TONNAGE DUTY TAXES: These are the exclusive COLLECTIONS OF THE BARBUDA COUNCIL . (1976 Act section 24-1&2 a-j).
- SECTIONS 13 TO 24 ARE A TOTAL GIVE-AWAY.
- EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM: Government is also in Court with Council. PARADISE FOUND was never named as part of Court proceedings. The ECSC judges asked if we wanted a stay of the project at K Club but we agreed that they should PROCEED WITH THE 251 ACRES. This Bill is a form of DICTATORSHIP that will DESTROY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ENSHRINED IN THE PROVISIONS OF THE BARBUDA LAND ACT 2OO7 AND 2010 REGULATIONS OF THE SAID ACT.
General Secretary BPM