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EE family upset over NDP land grab

- Said alternative land was proposed; accuses gov’t of using ‘strong arm’ tactics; Seventh District Representative skips town on day of vote while Eighth District Representative abstains
The portion of land that Government is in the process of acquiring in Long Swamp. The family concerning the land has made it public that they are not pleased over the recent Motion that was moved in the House of Assembly for the acquisition of the property for a sewerage pumping station. Photo: VINO
According to Mr Marlon 'Marlo' Chinnery, the family is not willing to sell the land and had proposed an alternative land that is in short distance of the land in question at Long Swamp, East End. Photo: VINO
According to Mr Marlon 'Marlo' Chinnery, the family is not willing to sell the land and had proposed an alternative land that is in short distance of the land in question at Long Swamp, East End. Photo: VINO
The parcel of land, said to be approximately half of an acre, originally belonged to a Mr Steadman Penn but is now family owned. Photo: VINO
The parcel of land, said to be approximately half of an acre, originally belonged to a Mr Steadman Penn but is now family owned. Photo: VINO
Mr Michael 'Marlo' Chinnery told Virgin Islands News Online that his grandfather, Mr Steadman Penn, had even given Government a piece of the land they are now looking to acquire for the construction of a ghut but now Government is back for more. Photo: VINO
Mr Michael 'Marlo' Chinnery told Virgin Islands News Online that his grandfather, Mr Steadman Penn, had even given Government a piece of the land they are now looking to acquire for the construction of a ghut but now Government is back for more. Photo: VINO
One of the persons who gathered with the family to show solidarity was Mr McLloyd O. Walters who said he knows the Penn family well and is aware that the family had offered an alternate piece of property right below the Mangrove Bakery. Photo: VINO/File
One of the persons who gathered with the family to show solidarity was Mr McLloyd O. Walters who said he knows the Penn family well and is aware that the family had offered an alternate piece of property right below the Mangrove Bakery. Photo: VINO/File
EAST END, Tortola, VI- An East End family has made it public that they are not pleased over the recent Motion that was moved in the House of Assembly for the compulsory acquisition of a family-owned piece of land for a sewerage pumping station opposite the East End Police Station.

The Motion, which was moved by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith during the Fourth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Second House of Assembly on March 19, 2015, received 7 votes for its passage.

Section 3 (1) of the Land Acquisition Ordinance (Cap. 222) provides that, if the Cabinet considers that any land should be acquired for a public purpose, it may – with the approval of the House of Assembly – cause a declaration for the acquisition to be made by the Cabinet Secretary. This was agreed on by Cabinet in February 2015.

The parcel of land, said to be approximately half of an acre, originally belonged to a Mr Steadman Penn but is now family owned.

“What happen is that my family is very upset about it, that I know, and they don’t believe that things happened the way they wanted it to happen, and they don’t like the way it happened and they are very upset about it,” said Mr Michael ‘Marlo’ Chinnery who is the grandson of Mr Penn. Mr Chinnery was speaking exclusively to Virgin Islands News Online in the presence of other family members and other sympathetic persons in the 7th and 8th Districts.

Not willing to sell

According to Chinnery, the family is not willing to sell the land and had proposed an alternative land that is in short distance of the land in question.

He noted that his uncle had plans to develop the land identified for the sewerage pumping station and is now seeking legal advice over the planned acquisition.

Meanwhile, Third District Representative and Virgin Islands Party Chairman Hon Julian Fraser RA had abstained from the vote and had suggested that if it was absolutely necessary for the Government to take the land that they should give the family a portion of land at Wickham's Cay in exchange. “Make the family happy. I haven't seen them; I don't even know what their thoughts are surrounding it," Hon. Fraser said.

Mr Chinnery said Hon Fraser’s suggestion is something that his uncle might want to listen to. “He might be interested but I don’t know yet, until we talk to him.”

One of the persons who gathered with the family to show solidarity was Mr McLloyd O. Walters who said he knows the Penn family well and is aware that the family had offered an alternate piece of property right below the Mangrove Bakery.

“They were prepared to sell that piece of property to the government. So the question comes up now as to why is it that the government didn’t take up the family on that particular offer? Why are they choosing to acquire this particular piece of property which, as I said, the family didn’t really want to sell?”

The alternative land is said to be within 400 feet of the land Government wants.

Mr Walters also stated that the previous Government had proposed to build the sewerage pump station where is now the proposed site for the sports stadium to be built at Greenland.

“Everyone should be in sympathy with this because this could happen to anyone,” Mr Walters said.

8th District rep abstains

When the Motion was voted on in the House of Assembly, Eighth District Representative Hon Marlon A. Penn had joined Opposition Members Hon Fraser, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) and Hon J. Alvin Christopher (R2) in abstaining.

Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Hon Kedrick D. Pickering (R7), who was listed to move the motion on the Order Paper, was absent from the sitting as he was reportedly out of the territory. The parcel of land falls within the 7th District.

Disappointed in Hon Pickering

“Pickering brought it to the House but where was he? Did he vote? And that is a concern of us too. Why didn’t he vote? I don’t like the situation that he didn’t vote and Penn didn’t vote and both of them are tied to this area right here because that land is right between the Eighth and Seventh Districts. And none of them didn’t vote because it would create a problem for them during elections time. And the people know this because they have been coming to us and telling us these things. They are very unhappy about this situation. They are unhappy because they know it could happen to them too.

“I am very displeased with Pickering. I grow up with that man. We used to go Sunday school and stuff. I am very unhappy with that man a long time and am not hiding it, you could put it in the news because I don’t care. I am serious, I am very, very unhappy with him,” Mr Chinnery stated.

‘Information is key’- Opposition

Hon Penn had not stated his reason for abstaining while the Opposition Members said Government needed to provide more information on the acquisition.

"This particular land that we are talking about isn't land that was acquired through purchase. It's an inheritance. So Madame Speaker, when you are going to ask me to agree with you to acquire compulsory a piece of property that belongs to someone through inheritance, you will have to convince me Madam Speaker, that all avenues of negotiations were attempted and exhausted...Information is key and it is not here," Hon Fraser said.

"Tell us exactly what is happening. What has gone wrong so that we can help you and join with you in making these decisions, because acquiring other persons' property without due information and the knowledge as to why you are doing it; not just to say you are building a sewerage treatment plant. We know that's a necessity and we also know Madame Speaker there is other land in the area that can be used. We don't know these things for a fact. The member who moved the Motion hasn't given us that information," Hon Christopher stated.

‘Negotiations will continue’- Premier

Premier Smith had given his word in the House that negotiations with the family of the property would continue and that they would be properly compensated. He had said it was unfortunate some members of the House thought government did not practice due diligence.

“It is unfortunate that my colleagues on the other side would believe that extensive negotiations/discussions have not been had before this (compulsory acquisition) was even considered. That has been going on a long time. It’s also unfortunate that the member believes the opportunity does not still exist for continued discussion.

“I know in the past, when some lands have been acquired, people have not been compensated; the fences that have been removed have not been replaced. But this is not going to happen here, and I give my word that this is not going [to] happen. Whatever needs to be done will be done; discussion will continue until there is a satisfactory outcome,” Premier Smith said.

Gov’t practicing strong arm policies

Obviously not happy with the way negotiations have been going with Government so far, Mr Chinnery said Government was bullying their way.

“Just the way they do things here. That’s the way the ministers them do things. They do things like how they want to do it, and not only that but with other things in the country, and that is what people are upset about.

Chinnery made it clear that the family is not against development.

“Well, yes, we are for development but come and talk to the family about the situation and let us see how we are going to benefit from this development. How it could make the community better and see what alternatives are there.”

Mr McLloyd was also in agreement with Mr Chinnery but said certain due process needed to be followed.

“Everyone is in favour of development but you just can’t say it is for the good of development and still take away somebody’s land in a way where certain due process hasn’t been followed and that is the issue here. The family feels the matter wasn’t given proper due process,” Mr Walters explained.

“And that is what I see happening with this government,” Mr Chinnery added.

37 Responses to “EE family upset over NDP land grab”

  • the bible says (25/03/2015, 08:28) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
  • lil man (25/03/2015, 08:29) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    ADVANTAGE NEVER DONE
    • @lil man (25/03/2015, 17:19) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
      That are getting paid for the land
      So what's the big issue? That land cannot be developed to hold no
      Big building. Planning will not allow it for it's too small. Why they making noise as if it was taken from them without payment.
      • For Real? (26/03/2015, 06:46) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
        What's the big issue? getting paid for the land? do you know the value of inheritance? there is nothing that can compensate for that, simply nothing. and you do not need to put up a big building. you wrote it " taken from them..." yes they paying but the payment means nothing to inheritance. do you even know the worth, the feeling that goes with inheriting something, passing it from generation to generation no matter how simple it is? it is a good feeling. it keeps generations alive. Nuff said.
  • chad (25/03/2015, 08:32) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
    NDP bullies & dictators at it again.
  • xxxxxxxx (25/03/2015, 08:44) Like (17) Dislike (8) Reply
    Kedrick skip town and Marlon did not vote...What a ting to tell the king
  • Domain (25/03/2015, 08:47) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    Under the doctrine of eminent domain, a government can force the sale of private land (at fair market value) if use of the land is for the public benefit.
    • gee (25/03/2015, 09:54) Like (16) Dislike (6) Reply
      Just because a law says it is allowed does not make it the best or right thing to do.
  • Yes (25/03/2015, 08:53) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    FIDEL TOOK THE PEOPLE THEM LAND
  • state of seige (25/03/2015, 08:55) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    Dictatorship runs in the cuban race.
  • weed (25/03/2015, 08:55) Like (16) Dislike (5) Reply
    this is how the NDP treath pepole...we will be out of our minds to vote them back to office
  • Gasprov (25/03/2015, 08:57) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
    Thing start now. Good job Hon Fraser, standing up for the people as always.
  • VOTE (25/03/2015, 08:57) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    All of them who abstained including marlin should have had the guts to vote No
  • Schups (25/03/2015, 10:00) Like (5) Dislike (7) Reply
    McLeod better go take a seat! Marlon will give him such a cut ass next elections. Waste of damn time!
  • citzen (25/03/2015, 10:03) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    Tell me I am dreaming and if this is true what the hell wrong with the NDP this is very nasty.
  • ndp taking land (25/03/2015, 10:42) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    First it was the hospital board and now it is the ministers of government.
  • Stopit (25/03/2015, 10:47) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply

    The Govt. Can take the land. What they cant do is fail to properly compensate the owner. 

  • wize up (25/03/2015, 10:49) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    ting to talk
  • Sherry (25/03/2015, 10:56) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    frankly, why would you want to put a sewage pump station near a bakery and around residential areas or near the harbour developments where people are? This is not an industrial site and should not be made one. If there is a problem, it will affect people more directly.
    • pete (25/03/2015, 11:20) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
      this is what bugs me. There is never any master plan or overview for consequences. It is also near the water!!
  • Truth (25/03/2015, 11:01) Like (20) Dislike (3) Reply
    That's why another reason NDP must and will go
  • cay (25/03/2015, 11:03) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    Yet another reason why the ndp must go!!!
  • church (25/03/2015, 11:14) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    god does not like the NDP
  • Family Member (25/03/2015, 13:42) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    I am highly dissappointed in Dr. Pickering and the Government. The Government was offered an alternative for the pump station and in my opinion it is the best place to situate the pump station where is it out out sight and close to a main drainage system which is a main ghut that leads directly out to the ocean. It is not directly close to the Bakery and should not pose any sanitation issues to its operations and the operations of any other current or proposed business development in the area.

    The question is why would the Government need half and acre of prime commercial property to errect a pump station? The proposed sight is not a suitable location as it is surrounded by commercial businesses and close to homes that can be affected by the odors that may escape from the station. Not to mention that there are other land owners who have yet to develop their properties and to have a pump station there could affect not only the value of other properties but could limit the options that they have to develop their properties when they are ready to do so.

    Why create another situation in East End as in Road Town where a pump station is smack dab in the middle of a highly travesed area our route?

    My uncle had plans to develop his property and for the Government to seize his property without even giving him the courtesy of a sit down meeting to discuss the situation is incensitive and one can equate it to being bullied. Because you have the power to do something that does not mean you can trample on an individuals rights.

    THE MATTER WAS HANDLED IN A DISTATSTEFUL AND DISRESPECTFUL MANNER!!!!!!!
    • hawk (26/03/2015, 23:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Family member, the land is at the "cross-road" of the EE/LL community. That is the best location for the pumping station and other infrastructure.

      Is it really that you want more than the land is worth, or you want far more valuable land in Road Town in exchange? Tell us.
  • @family member (25/03/2015, 17:24) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    Now you know what you just blog is not true. There were talks with your uncle. Don't make a mountain out if a mole hole.
  • Biggs (25/03/2015, 21:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is not good you don't do that because of power that should be the last option but now is the time to see who picking is and if Marlon was a man he would of said no but he lap his tail but any ways vote for me # 3 on your ballot a vote for me is a vote for equality
    • poor people (27/03/2015, 00:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      and you believe a NDP Govt can get poor people out of poverty.you living in an illusion.people were still living in poverty the almost 4 years the NDP held state power in the 2003-2007
  • Family Member (25/03/2015, 22:04) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    How would you what is truth?
  • all (26/03/2015, 23:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    FYI - the BVIburned under all NDP. Govt.
  • Longlook (27/03/2015, 12:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    My two cents the 7th and 8th reps should vote yes or no from playing trick with the people land. Dr Pickering I tired of he He do nothing and he comfortable doing nothing for the 7th and as minister for natural resource and labour. The ministry is still the same and even worst with the sitting labour commissioner.
  • St.Thomian (22/04/2015, 15:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As a family of my cousin Michael. I feel the government is so wrong to take land that been in our family for so long. Go cuz stand up for our family values.


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