Abaco devastation raises land speculation concerns

Abaco devastation raises land speculation concerns

AG: Govt. will not tolerate bottom feeding 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday that the government will review any laws necessary in order to prevent land speculation in hurricane-ravaged areas.

Land speculation is a practice of buying or holding property based on the belief that the capital value will increase, and it is feared the hard-hit islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama will be targeted.

In a Facebook post, University of The Bahamas Professor Dr. Nicolette Bethel called for the government to reinstate the Immovable Properties Act.

“[The] last thing we need in the wake of Dorian is carpetbaggers from the north,” Dr Bethel wrote.

The act was repealed on January 1, 1994 and replaced with the International Persons Landholding Act 1993.

The Immovable Properties Act regulated how Bahamian land was divested to non- Bahamians, particularly how it related to foreign direct investments.

“The government will not tolerate land speculators and bottom feeding in time of crisis and will look carefully at any laws that need to be changed,” Bethel told Eyewitness News Online.

“We will look carefully at any laws to determine if anything needs to be changed, to prevent bottom feeding and land speculation.”

Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin has campaigned for the act to be reinstated throughout her political tenure.

In an interview with Eyewitness News Online yesterday, Hanna-Martin said: “Something like this, this disaster creates a vulnerability.”

“I think that there is a larger policy issue and it is long overdue. We have created a market for selling Bahamian land; no other country does that.

She continued: “It is long overdue. We have already effectively marginalized our people for generations yet unborn. Abaco creates a vulnerability that makes it perhaps more urgent. But it is urgent and it is long overdue and we have to put restrictions in place for the divestment of Crown Land, the divestment of Bahamian land to foreigners, because otherwise we will become a landless people.”