Speaking on Freedom FM’s ‘Good Morning St. Kitts-Nevis’, Liburd disclosed that in her constituency, Central Basseterre, there are many abandon buildings being used as dumping grounds for garbage, most notably in the Greenlands community.
“We have some legislation in place, as it relates to abandoned buildings… I counted about twenty something in Greenlands alone. We have a number of them through alleyways, in particular the McKnight area and in the Market street area. People use them as a dump, which is unfortunate, because we have a very reliable garbage system. We don’t have to throw out our garbage.
“We keep cleaning them up, but the next day, same thing. We have appealed to the neighbours and everybody to try and make sure that they have an eye out there, and be vigilant, but this doesn’t happen,” Liburd said.
A constraint being encountered is that most abandoned houses in these and other communities are in court because of family disputes.
“The legislation is there, but it can do with some amendments to it, but the real problem is that a lot of times you might say, why not take the owners to court? But some of them have no owners in the sense that some of them are family disputes, and that’s why they are the way they are, not left for one person,” Liburd explained.
Taking over the land is not an option, as explained by the minister, who said the Constitution does not give the government the leverage to “take people’s land”. Alternative methods would have to be used, she indicated.
“One of the things we have in mind is try to see if we can reach those who we know, even if they are not here, really try vigorously to reach them and see if they would agree to sell us the land,” said Liburd.
She disclosed that the government would purchase those lands and turn them into proper housing or exchange lands.
“We will buy the land there on the abandoned property, clean it up, turn it into proper housing, and we will give you land somewhere else,” said Minister Liburd.