Real Es­tate In­dus­try Vi­tal to Na­tion’s Growth and De­vel­op­ment

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Kar­leen Greenidge

To­day my goal is to stim­u­late some aware­ness in our coun­try as to the fact that we al­ready have many of the re­sources we need to cre­ate wealth and pros­per­ity for our fam­i­lies.

Those are the God-given at­tributes of in­her­i­tances from the sweat of our fore­fa­thers, grand­par­ents and par­ents to which we need to add our fore­sight, vi­sion, knowl­edge, guid­ance, coun­sel, pa­tient dili­gence and di­vine wis­dom.

Our ci­ti­zens must wake up, smell the cof­fee and be de­ter­mined that though we go over­seas to in­crease ed­u­ca­tion, in­come sources and at­tain an un­der­stand­ing of the wider world, nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties abound for us, right in our own back­yard.

Here, we do not nec­es­sar­ily have to put up with prej­u­dices of race, colour, class, lan­guage or re­li­gion; all we need is the de­ter­mi­na­tion to work to­gether to bring about the changes.

All pol­i­tics and re­li­gion aside, at the end of the day, we are all re­lated in some way, and are con­fronted with the same is­sues.

By and large, our fam­ily lives are driven by the same ex­pec­ta­tions of food, cloth­ing, shel­ter and se­cu­rity based upon our in­come.

As all over the world, much of our lands are fam­i­ly­owned. We now need to be­lieve and un­der­stand that even though we in­herit, land es­pe­cially, it was not meant to lie dor­mant. From the time of creation, it was to pro­vide that same food, cloth­ing, shel­ter and se­cu­rity.

My broth­ers and sis­ters, it is time that we are able to use it for that pur­pose. Too much of our land is tied up in un­nec­es­sary fam­ily squab­bles through jeal­ousy, pride, self­ish­ness, ha­tred, cru­elty and self-de­struc­tive sen­ti­ments.

Of­ten, rel­a­tives re­turn home from over­seas, ex­pect­ing to make a change, but are greeted with the same old back­ward think­ing of those who are not pre­pared to see things dif­fer­ently. What a shame! Some­times, they are forced to re­turn over­seas.

Many of our fam­ily landown­ers are plagued for years, by lack of funds to con­duct the pro­cesses nec­es­sary to de­velop lands. Un­less we wake up and do some­thing while we are alive and able, our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren will be grossly af­fected.

Res­o­lu­tions

1. We have a num­ber of lawyers and prac­ti­tion­ers who are now versed in me­di­a­tion. Let us be­gin to con­sult them, re­gard­ing our un­di­vided or aban­doned fam­ily prop­erty. 2. Our coun­try has a num­ber of sur­vey­ors who can work with us to guide and as­sist in chart­ing the course of ac­tion. 3. We have the Lands and Sur­vey Depart­ment, Land Reg­istry, De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Au­thor­ity, en­gi­neers, min­istries of in­fra­struc­ture, hous­ing, lands, etc, util­ity com­pa­nies, ar­chi­tects, con­trac­tors and real es­tate con­sul­tants. 4. The main hin­drance in de­vel­op­ment is fi­nance. This is the de­cid­ing fac­tor, where our Min­istry of Fi­nance must play a mean­ing­ful role in cre­at­ing the en­abling en­vi­ron­ment to cat­a­pult this process. Just in case our present bank­ing sys­tem is al­ready too heav­ily bur­dened, let us look out­side the box. 5. Quite apart from at­tract­ing tourism de­vel­op­ment and other in­cen­tive projects, I be­lieve that the time has come for us to have a ded­i­cated in­vest­ment bank, of the sort that would fi­nance the sub­di­vi­sion of pri­vately owned land right through the de­vel­op­ment pro­cesses, thereby mak­ing plots of var­i­ous sizes, for var­i­ous uses, avail­able to Saint Lu­cians. They would un­doubt­edly have their hands full. 6. The eco­nomic ef­fect would be felt in bal­anc­ing our land prices, con­struc­tion costs, house rentals, pro­vid­ing a max­i­miza­tion of land use, and re­sult­ing in prop­erty tax rev­enues, small busi­ness job creation and sta­bil­ity, as well as a steady eco­nomic growth through­out a wider cross­sec­tion of our pop­u­la­tion. All we need is for brethren to de­cide to dwell to­gether in unity, cut away all of the di­vided fam­ily and com­pet­ing rel­a­tives crap, po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions, cor­rup­tion, and just do what is nec­es­sary for our peo­ple and the com­mon good of our coun­try, through au­thor­i­ties and in­sti­tu­tions work­ing to­gether with ci­ti­zens.

The world is full of well-in­ten­tioned, rep­utable, in­vestors who sim­ply need the right busi­ness pro­posal and en­vi­ron­ment. We need the right struc­tural frame­work that could even­tu­ally be em­u­lated by some of our Car­ib­bean Is­lands while we re­main, al­ways, the beau­ti­ful He­len of the West.

This is not an im­pos­si­ble dream, as long as we are de­ter­mined to hon­estly work to­ward break­ing down the bar­ri­ers that con­tinue to stand in the way of ‘do­ing busi­ness in Saint Lu­cia’.

I say it can hap­pen now. What say you?

Kar­leen Greenidge, Pres­i­dent of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors.

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