Consumer property rights being abused?

Published: Wednesday | March 4, 2009

The Editor, Sir:

Reference is made to Garth Rattray's commentary in Monday's Gleaner entitled, 'Writing the wrongs on bauxite reserves'. According to the article, the St Ann Parish Council recently declined to approve an application for sub-division by a property owner based on the objection of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), which argued that the property falls within an area reserved for "possible future mining" by the JBI. The fact that the JBI is acting on of the behalf of and in the interest of bauxite companies is taken as a given by this writer.

For while it is understandable and entirely appropriate that Government, under certain conditions, can justify expropriating private property for the benefit and use of the Government; to extend this privilege to another (private) entity - in this case a bauxite company - appears prejudiced, arbitrary, contrary to the basic principles of equity under the law, and a clear denigration of property rights of the ordinary citizen as property owner.

Clear injustice

Without any doubt, this legislation can be proven to adversely affect the market value of properties that fall within the reserved areas. Indeed, it even affects the market value of properties that are close to properties within the 'reserved areas'. The clear injustice and arbitrariness of this legal provision is demonstrated in the fact that the JBI appears to routinely add more properties to the list of those falling within the 'reserved areas', without even bothering to inform the registered property owners of this fact.

Clearly this 'deal' cannot be allowed to continue. No. Not now. Not at a time when it is widely accepted that property rights are understood to form the very foundation of 21st century capitalism.

I am, etc.,

Clive A. Banton

Ontario, Canada