Leader of the opposition party, the People’s Action Movement (PAM), Lindsay Grant is being accused by the ruling Labour Party government for thriving off private land sale deals at the South East Peninsula, which is said to be contradicting PAM’s continued accusation against the government for ‘selling off”Kittitian land to foreigners. The PAM has said on their election campaign that the Labour Government was ‘selling off”prime crown lands to foreign investors, even in areas where “not even one square foot of land belonged to the government of St. Kitts and Nevis”. Grant is being described as the major beneficiary in St. Kitts and Nevis, through his law firm, Lindsay Grant and Company, of the skyrocket- priced land being sold on the South-East Peninsula to foreign investors by Christophe Harbour. Grant has made claims that the government was selling land to foreigners “for 69 cents and 75 cents a square foot”while locals have to pay a much dearer price, a claim which the government says is a “blatant lie”. Land at Christophe Harbour (located on the South East Peninsula) is presently being sold for about US$27 per square foot, according to land transfer documents from the Land Registry. Court documents from the Land Registry have revealed that four plots of land already sold to foreign investors on the South-East Peninsula by Christophe Harbour total 101, 501 square feet at a price of US$2,720,000. Documents have already been signed for the sale of seven more parcels of land by the law firm, Lindsay Grant and Company. The opposition party has promoted PAM’s intended policy on the ban of sale of government lands for development purposes to foreign investors on their election campaign. At a PAM public meeting in Sandy Point (Jan.29), Grant said, “I want to tell you what our land policy is going to be about; no longer, no longer, a foreign entity is going to come into this country and buy 500 acres of the people’s land”. “If they want to develop, they will have to lease the land for development over a long period of time and the land goes back to the people. I want to say to you that we”ve looked and we”ve looked in this country how our lands have been given away in the name of development,”he added. It is being said that with many nationals not aware that the lands at the South-East Peninsula were privately owned, Grant fuelled a public debate and outcry, calling into question the large quantity of land acquired by Christophe Harbour for development purposes. The government was ‘selling out the birth right of the citizens of this nation,”he said on his campaign pulpit, and lambasted foreign investors as potential crooks of which one has to be extremely careful. “It is not everybody who comes in here with a briefcase in (their) hand and a smile on their face is a developer, because there are a lot of crooks in this world and we can’t afford for our lands to be put into the hands of dishonest people,”Grant said. Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Hilary Hazel, says the government has always had a balanced approached to land development by selling or leasing land. “Government’s policy has been exercised over the years in that each developer has to present a full comprehensive development plan and proposal. Large acres of land are normally leased as is the practice of the government”, Hazel said.
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