Showing posts with label land-grabbing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label land-grabbing. Show all posts

Saturday, March 17, 2012

WHOSE LAND?

453 acres of King's Park below Stirling Castle – the last significant ancient property of the Scottish Crown not controlled by Scottish Ministers – is being sold off by the Crown Estate Commissioners for £1 million. The people of Stirling will pay for more than half the sale price to secure the site for the town's golf club, despite the public having effectively owned the land since the 12th century. Over the past years the CEC has managed the park as just another part of their commercial rural estate. In 2006, it began secret negotiations to sell Stirling Golf Club lands they already leased. Stirling Council stepped in and agreed to acquire the parkland and land at the back of the castle funded by £567,000 Stirling common good fund (60% of its reserves) and £450,000 from the golf club, which would then be granted a 175-year lease.

Andy Wightman, an authority on land-ownership in Scotland, is calling for answers from ministers and the local council. "This land is crown land. It is Scottish public land. It should be administered by Scottish ministers, as nearly all other historic castles, palaces and royal parks are. No public money should be needed to acquire control of this land, least of all the bulk of Stirling's common good fund. Why...is the Scottish Government sitting idly by while a common good fund is raided to pay for public land that already belongs to us, to be given away to a private golf club for 175 years? It is time to stop this madness."

King's Park Community Council wrote to the council: "In our opinion this is a serious mistake given that the recommendations about to be published in the Scotland Bill give every indication that Crown Estate management in Scotland will be returned to Scottish ministers."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The New Vietnam Class War


When around 100 police and local officials came to seize their land outside the northern port city of Haiphong, the family of farmer Doan Van Vuon was ready and waiting, with shotguns in hand and improvised explosive devices planted in the ground. Six security officers were injured in the ensuing shoot-out on January 5, the culmination of a long-running land dispute between Mr Vuon and the local government. Foreign diplomats say that the government is concerned about the potential for such disputes to spiral out of control, at a time when it is facing other threats to social stability such as the record number of labour strikes and soaring food prices.

Jairo Acuña-Alfaro, a policy adviser on the United Nations Development Programme in Hanoi, says that disputes over land use rights were “perhaps the largest source of corruption nowadays in Vietnam”, with many Vietnamese complaining that local authorities often set compensation prices for land too low.

Following the path laid out by China, Vietnam embarked on its first steps toward a market economy in the late 1980s. In 1993, Vietnam allowed citizens to acquire “land use rights” but the state has retained official ownership of all land. As Vietnam’s economy boomed over the last decade, that ambiguity has led to an increase in the number of disputes over land between residents, on the one hand, and developers and local governments, on the other. The case echoes similar land disputes in neighbouring China. In December, a confrontation over land sales turned violent in the southern village Wukan after the local government sent in paramilitary troops to quell demonstrations.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8625ddc6-4352-11e1-8489-00144feab49a.html#axzz1kXYAo7Ax

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The African "Clearances"

An Oxfam report blames land deals for forcing people off land and destroying homes and livelihoods. It says land deals often have no benefit to the country itself, and instead are aimed at using arable land to grow food for developed nations, to produce biofuels, or simply to speculate for profit.

Dundee West MSP Joe Fitzpatrick “The Oxfam report evokes grave echoes from Scotland’s past, namely the Highland Clearances, when, throughout the Highlands and Islands many thousands of people left their ancestral lands, many after being forcibly evicted.”

Oxfam details that more than 20,000 people forcibly evicted from their land to make way for a British timber company, The New Forests Company, and Fitzpatrick described it as an example of “a new modern-day clearance” in operation.

Oxfam Scotland head Judith Robertson said: “Many of the world’s poorest people are being left worse off by the unprecedented pace of land deals and the frantic competition for land. Global action is crucial if we are to protect local people all around the world from losing what little they have for the profits of a few.”

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