Union Island lands acquired by Government to be sold to private developers
The beach front land at Campbell in Union Island
December 13, 2022

Union Island lands acquired by Government to be sold to private developers

The beach front land at Campbell in Union Island that was recently acquired by the Government will be sold to developers involved in a hotel project there.

Chief Surveyor, Keith Francis told SEARCHLIGHT on Sunday, December 11, that the developers had initially wanted to purchase the 10.75 acres of land from the various owners, but the developers’ lawyer advised that many of the titles were not clear, so the Government acquired the land as a means of verifying the titles for the developers.

“Instead of having to go through the process of trying to ascertain these titles and have the occupiers get clean title, they suggested to the Government that it would be best for the Government to acquire the lands. That way, once the Government acquires the land, the title becomes clear and once the owners can prove that they are indeed the legitimate owners, then the Government would pay the persons,” Francis said.

“We are quite surprised that our land…can be taken away from us to be given to someone else for development of a hotel…,” Fitzgerald Hutchinson, one of the landowners said last week.

He was among a group of residents who staged a picket on Union Island on December 4, to protest the acquisition of the land by the Government.

He said he and other residents of the island have plans to develop the area and had already cleared the land and placed picnic tables there when they learned about the acquisition.

“We can develop this area just as much as anyone else,” he declared.

Hutchinson told SEARCHLIGHT that he and his relatives, who together own three acres of the acquired property, had been approached by the developers to purchase their land, but they declined.

His suspicions that the Government intends to sell the land to those same persons have been confirmed.

The Chief Surveyor said this process of acquisition to establish clear title was also followed at Buccament to facilitate the Beaches project, currently under construction.

He said the former owners of the Buccament Bay resort had sold bungalows and condominiums to many different people and if the developers of the Beaches project wanted to get ownership, they would have had to “negotiate with each and every owner”.

In acquiring the land, the Government made the purchase simpler, Francis explained.

“Government acquired those lands and gave them to Beaches, and Beaches provided the money for the Government to pay the individual owners,” he said.

In relation to the owners of the Union Island land, the Chief Surveyor said the acquisition is complete and all that is left is for the owners to be paid for the land.

“We have completed valuations and requested that the ‘owners’ provide proof of ownership to the Attorney General so he can do the title searches.”

He said although the Government has a valuation for the property, it is a starting point for negotiations with persons who provide proof of ownership.

“… But the final figure can be adjusted, based on the outcome of the negotiations.”