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'Halt sale of land in VI for next 15 to 20 years' - Julio S. Henry

- caller to Things To Talk said selling land in VI is selling birthright
With the fear that Virgin Islanders may lose their birthright by selling their lands, talk show host Julio S. Henry has called for a halt to the sale of land for the next 15-20 years. Photo: Youtube
A caller to the Speak Your Mind show on January 18, 2017 felt that the rich expats who come to the Virgin Islands (UK) are buying acres of prime property just for residential purposes, arguing that if this continues, very soon land will not be available for natives. Photo: Internet Source
A caller to the Speak Your Mind show on January 18, 2017 felt that the rich expats who come to the Virgin Islands (UK) are buying acres of prime property just for residential purposes, arguing that if this continues, very soon land will not be available for natives. Photo: Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Co-Host of the popular radio programme ‘Things To Talk’ on ZBVI 780 AM, Julio S. Henry has called for some drastic measures to be taken where the selling of property in the territory is concerned, among them a 15 to 20 years halt on the sale of land.

Henry’s remarks came following concerned callers to the programme who felt that the rich expats who come to the Virgin Islands (UK) are buying acres of prime property just for residential purposes, arguing that if this continues, very soon land will not be available for natives.

This particular caller said what drove the matter home for him was when he recently stumbled upon a three-acre lot with a home located in its center, owned by a foreigner.

“Now you can tell me in a small territory like this, a little two by four country, somebody could come from foreign and come to the BVI to live among us and could own three acres of land and build his house in the middle of it? Something got to be wrong with that! The government really need to get serious on these matters!”

The caller continued, “Maybe we need to put laws in place for a person in that category can only own a house lot, except he want to do something to employ hundreds of people; but if it’s for personal residential use, what he doing with three acres of land in a small two by four country?” referring to the matter as exploitation of the system and it needs to be stopped.

Stop the sale of land, lease instead

Henry had this solution to the problem.

“Here is my solution to it, I have said it for years and I am going to say it tonight, we need to have a moratorium on the sale of land in this territory. Stop it for 15 to 20 years, turn these real estate companies into management companies, the government should now start educating people who own land, rather than selling your land this is what you do.”

He continued, “When these people come with these big bright ideas, you take a letter of intent from them, you take a deposit, they want to build a house to retire in, they want to build a house to rent for tourism product? Build to suit and lease it to them, then turn the property into an estate and let it be managed under the estate umbrella. Don’t sell nothing.”

Host of the programme Dr Natalio D. “Sowande Uhuru” Wheatley agreed.

“I have to say I like that idea by Sam, and also we spoke a lot in the past about a land bank, it would be nice to have a land bank going in the BVI but these are things that we just have spoken about, but it’s time to move on them because it’s very hard for young persons to get land,” he said.

“So caller you hitting the nail on the head in terms of your concern and I think Sam’s solution is a brilliant suggestion.”

Land prices outrageous

Another caller to the program bemoaned the difficulties he experiences in seeking land for purchase.

“Since last year I’m looking for a piece of land and I could tell you the price them outrageous. And when you see who own these real estate companies they are foreigners and they have the price so high that the average BV Islander cannot even buy a quarter acre!” the caller stated.

Land worth more than money

Wheatley also mentioned that the land is worth more than money and persons should not be selling their properties.

He said sadly the issue is not unique to the Virgin Islands but the Caribbean on a whole.

“It’s not just here, especially in the Caribbean is such a beautiful place; you go around the coast and all around the nice places and the local people become alienated from these areas, all of them become sold off to the highest bidder. You cannot just look at everything in terms of money, you have to look at it in terms of the heritage. These are the lands that our ancestors fought hard for, they the land. We were enslaved and had to work the land and a lot of our ancestors were able to buy back the land, so it cannot just be a money thing…we are actually selling our birthright and we are doing a disservice to coming generations who will have to look for public housing. And all the while people coming from all over the place having the best piece of property that you could think of.”

35 Responses to “'Halt sale of land in VI for next 15 to 20 years' - Julio S. Henry”

  • Mtn.Dove (19/01/2017, 08:41) Like (28) Dislike (8) Reply
    I agree! The government also needs to look into how much people are migrating here legally and illegally. Just like no land, there will be no jobs as well.....Besides some of them even admit that they don't like our country but they like the money! So What The Hell You Doing Here Then...JUST LEAVE!!!
    • Outsider (24/01/2017, 20:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes, it sounds like a great idea. Let's stop foreigners buying land; that will stop most of the building; create job losses so we can send back the work permit people. Foreigners aren't registering our companies much these days either. The economy is slowing down. Let's crash it and get the foreigners out. Us Belongers can have dis country to ourselves. LET THEM LEAVE
  • Ya me born (19/01/2017, 08:46) Like (22) Dislike (6) Reply
    We have to be very careful where the sale of lands is concerned...I know for a fact that some of these foreigners buying lands are racists. Every grin teeth from some of these people isn't a smile..If this sale of lands continues I could guarantee that in ten years the BVI islander would be relegated to a second class citizen in his/her own country..take heed people
  • Virgin Islander (19/01/2017, 08:47) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    I agree with the one caller where laws should be created that a foreigner can only buy a house lot, if anything bigger it should be for commercial purpose where there'll be employment. My country is dissipated right before our eyes and law maker's are not even conscious of this, or is it that they turn a blind eye? Are we as virgin islanders going to sit back and just allow the folly to continue? Are we going to be like our neighbour st.john where the locals are hemmed in the center? We need to start holding our leaders accountable and stop waiting until it's to late to try and change the wrong, let's nip it in the bud before it festers.
  • Afu (19/01/2017, 08:55) Like (25) Dislike (4) Reply
    TOO LATE NOW. We should have thought about that years ago...
    • Sharp Machete (19/01/2017, 09:59) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Afu, you're100% correct. You hit the nail right on the head. Me being a native-born old timer in VG, did not give in.
  • Online Now (19/01/2017, 09:02) Like (12) Dislike (8) Reply
    That move would completely devalue and destabalise the BVI economy. Maybe that's what they want but very worrying coming from someone who is now directly involved in politics.
  • Acres (19/01/2017, 09:07) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    That's because of current banking system, property evaluators and personal greed. At the current cost / appraised values of these properties only the wealthy can afford them. So we are basically selling out ourselves, we cannot have our cal and still eat it.
  • AhaSAW (19/01/2017, 09:09) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
    Sam and Wheatley, you are correct. Long time the ancestors was telling me this thing about selling off what they were whipped for and the negative implications on the generations coming. I will say more later.
  • True (19/01/2017, 09:10) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    Problem is that many people who own land aren't in the financial position of both these hosts, have they or any of their family sold land?

    You cannot tell a private owner what they can do with their land, the government could stop issuing alien land holder license bu that would mean for everyone including Oil But Bay, Nail Bay and the other resorts on VG.
  • PPA (19/01/2017, 09:24) Like (14) Dislike (7) Reply
    Then we have the social security buying up all the rest of the land so that the NDP cronies and their children will get houses at a low cost
  • We selling our souls (19/01/2017, 09:45) Like (40) Dislike (4) Reply
    It's we. BVIslanders. Not the foreigners. We have become the most greediest and selfish people in the world... If we locls have an acre of land Value 150 thousand and a local offer 2 hundred thousand then a foreigner offers 3 hundred thousand. Who will get the land. The foreigners. It's either greed, good business or a sell out...Hard to say which one.
    • Really (24/01/2017, 21:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Sell it to u for 2 so u can sell it for three?... Lot of you talk but never practice what you preach-this is a capitalist world so continue fool8ng yourself-but not me....
  • Wow Wow Wow (19/01/2017, 09:45) Like (20) Dislike (8) Reply
    U can put whatever restrictions u want on u and your families land but that what I own please keep from that all kinds of people here with acres and acres and sick and broke and can't afford food but holding on to land the banks don't care about what u have they ain't giving u no loans but if u want a car they will give u a loan for five cars when I am in need I will sell mines to get where I need to get that's why I bought in the first place
    I really question this guy SAM's motives at times just don't make sense
  • we need cash (19/01/2017, 10:29) Like (15) Dislike (6) Reply
    People broke what you want them to do?
  • Circular Logic (19/01/2017, 11:40) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    We want jobs, which means we need development and funding which most times isn't found locally. Don't sell our land, which means land stays stagnated, no development, no jobs, blame NDP. I wonder if these guys listen to themselves?
  • +++ (19/01/2017, 11:40) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    a foreigner purchased below and next to me AND the strip of land in between- so now I am SURROUNDED by one owner who has not made his plans clear. From what I hear, he has potential to devalue my property unless he wants to
    buy that too!
  • Wendy (19/01/2017, 13:15) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Legislating what people do with their land? Why not just take it away from them. Bad enough that they spend a heavy fee for appraisals a fraction of the land's worth. Banks not giving loans. Educate folks and let thrm do what they know is best for their circumstsance.
    And if selling, the highest bidder makes sense.
  • So (19/01/2017, 13:50) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    So I must sell it to updeisliun folks for penny when i could get million from elswhere and tis them the reason I want to get outta my country that they now dominate with bad behavior... No way no time no sirree
  • Thinking Tom (19/01/2017, 14:33) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    It's a natural inclination to be a protectionist and ignore everything else. It's not possible that these Ex-pats can ship out the land even if they want to, the land remains in the BVI. If this economy begins to fall and people start pulling out, locals would be happy they did sell when they could've..
    The difficulty with shutting yourself in is that you leave light and air outside too..everything requires balance. If 60% of this population would ship out I wonder who would pay NHI and Social Security and the Mortgage of many through rent..Think some more..
  • Huu (19/01/2017, 14:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just sell all the dawn land and go live in STT...
  • Dim Sum (19/01/2017, 14:44) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    It is really a no brainer; but will the powers that be make this bold move or not? See we need to have 'Leasehold and Freehold' as our new words when selling lands that are scarce. Foreigners can but the 'leasehold' properties on a defined period of time, while the 'freehold' lands will be sold to belongers/locals with the clause that it cannot be re-sold as that same 'freehold' to non-qualifying buyers. The UK/Europe do this and it has not affected their base negatively. Additionally, there is a land and property 'bubble' here that as other posters have stated is driven by the artificial asking prices/values created to price locals/belongers out of the market! The banks have even colluded with these unscrupulous "Estate Agents" to further disenfranchise locals/belongers from certain areas within the BVI. So there are solutions but are we ready to implement them for the sake of the average person? Only the political elitist class and their benefactors know the truth to this question.
    • True (19/01/2017, 20:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Sounds good in theory but it's way too easy to change a lease hold to freehold.
  • Yes (19/01/2017, 14:53) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    Makes perfect sense, Let put a nail in the economies coffin by basically eliminating all real estate transactions for 20 years! Makes perfect sense. No house or land purchases for 20 years.
  • Really (19/01/2017, 15:05) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sam think I will stay unemployed and starve and watch the land. I will sell a piece to survive.
  • Me (19/01/2017, 23:28) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Really, why don't you look at other jurisdictions such as Cayman, who is welcoming foreigners to come in and invest , either by buying land, building properties and/or commercial ventures? The BVI if not careful will be left behind and the people will end up suffering because of short sightedness and narrow vision. There is enough land to go around. Why don't BVI people buy more land? Why only waiting to inherit from mommy and daddy? Think outside the box and embrace investors! They might be your only hope soon!
  • just asking.. (20/01/2017, 06:45) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can he see?
  • Poormankind (20/01/2017, 07:06) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
    People of the Virgin Islands, it is all good to say some selling to advance themselves, but in the long run it will hurt the Virgin Islander. Number one no person who came to the VI as a boat hand should be selling our lands. Second, put a spoke in the plans of these ex pats real estate agents. The time has come for us to put our thoughts together to find solutions that would aid our children in the future. Let us stop this madness of greed. History is important. Think about how our forefathers got the land and what they endured to give us an inheritance. I dont want to be in the grave having to fight this unnecessary battle for my family who are alive. Let us examine this problem if not addressed we would be saying. Had ah know. Them skin teeth cant help themselves. They have one disenfranchise us and rule over us. Let us stop them, please.
    • @ poormankind (20/01/2017, 09:43) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are right. My father hammer in our head not to sell and he ain't hand over any yet. I had to go buy mine and let me tell you I aint selling that nor any I inherit. I believe if I had just get it easy, I would be more willing to sell. Right now, I understand the price a cheese and not a materialistic thing gwine make me hand to mouth and desperate where my land is concerned.
  • Wow Wow Wow (20/01/2017, 09:35) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Just listen to @poor mankind the racism are u people for real , that is why our country is so corrupt and up side down and as a people have no human rights in this country that is why every one of the so call elete group can get away with what ever they do and the rest just have to live with it and pay the cost
    Adolph hittler think just like u so why not do to the expats like he did to the Jews u are a shameful human beign u should be ashame of your self this world have no place for people like u not in the BVI leave
    Thank u
  • ausar (20/01/2017, 17:14) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thankfully my ancestors never sold the hundreds of acres that we own....

    Generational wealth for the next this and years......
  • Nick... (23/01/2017, 16:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why worry.....our earth will live us out....only time will tell. Let's live and be happy for now.
  • Afu (23/01/2017, 17:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yeh Mon! Ill have me some FRY FISH and JOHNNY CAKE dem ya no... Live life on earth now, cause when our time comes, the earfh and it's land is just gonna be here for the next generation of people. Absolutely NO ONE HERE, is gonna take any land with them in the end.

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