Property ownership linked to poverty alleviation: Senator Matthew

The Upper House of Parliament convened yesterday as the debate for the amendments to the
Barbuda Land Management Act continued.

Daryll Matthew, the newest senator to be sworn in as a parliamentarian in the Upper House
says that he is in support of the amendments made to the act and is well qualified to speak on
the issue and add some value to the debate.

Matthew says his support for the amendments made to the act lies in the ability to empower
people through land ownership.

During his presentation, Matthew said for decades people have been mislead
on the issue of land ownership on Barbuda.

“The notion that lands on the island of Barbuda are owned in common cannot be supported
historically or legally and the lands on Barbuda are, in fact Crown Lands,” Matthew said.

He said that the lack of commercial activity, the lack of opportunity for the residents the
overwhelming dependency on the central Government for subventions were all the hallmark
signs of poverty.

“I’m not saying that Barbudans were living in poverty, what I’m saying is that the conditions on
Barbuda bore the classic signs of a poverty-stricken community,” he said. Matthew wanted to drive the point that the links between poverty and the lack of property rights are pervasive.

In quoting the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Property Rights for
Poverty Reduction, December 2009, Property and poverty, he said that Land is a critical asset,
especially for the rural poor, because it provides a means of livelihood, he went onto say that
those without property rights generally lack the incentive or even the authority to make
investments in the land where they live or farm that might lead to higher returns.

“In many cases, land can be used as collateral for credit to invest in the land, or be exchanged
for capital to start up another income-generating activity.”

Matthew said the ability to own property is intrinsically linked to poverty alleviation and it is
disturbing that there are persons oppose the Barbudans having the opportunity to own
property.

“persons who oppose this bill have zero reservation is buying as much land as they can afford,”
Matthew said.

Matthew says he feels very passionate about the land issue because Barbudans have been
disastrously mislead and said that those who wish to exercise their right to refuse to purchase
the lands also wants to prevent those Barbudans who want to empower themselves by using
their newly purchased property from doing so.