It has come to my attention that a great deal of misinformation regarding the lands at the Vance W Amory Airport has been spinning across the social media; I would like to lay out the facts for the general public once and for all.
The lands in question measure 20.8395 acres, being a portion of the lands owned by R. Douglas E Yearwood, held by Certificate of Title, registered in Book 6 Folio 67 in the Nevis Registry of Titles.
My understanding is that the ownership of land, held by Certificate of Title, is guaranteed by Government and is a public document held in the Registry. Any change in ownership must be recorded on the Title in the Registry.
Following is a brief history of the dealings between the Government and R. Douglas E. Yearwood, as recorded in written correspondence between the parties.
In a letter dated 24th September 1956 Mr. D Brookes, the Warden of Nevis, requests to purchase lands at Race Course for the construction of the Newcastle Airport.
In a letter dated 24th October 1956 R. Douglas E Yearwood offers to lease the lands to government.
In a letter dated 11th October 1957 Minister of Communications and Works C A Paul Southwell requests R D E Yearwood to communicate his terms for the lease of the lands until the Government is in a position to purchase the lands.
In a letter dated 21st October 1957 R. Douglas E Yearwood confirms his offer to lease the airport lands to Government for a period of 10 years, after which the Government can decide to purchase the land or relocate the airport.
In a letter dated 7th January 1959 C A Paul Southwell requests a purchase price per acre for the lands from R. Douglas E Yearwood.
In a letter dated 10th November 1969. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication Works and Transport, J. Byron Cox informs R. Douglas E Yearwood that Government intends to pave the Airstrip with a grant from Canada. This being the case they once again request to purchase the lands.
During the 70s negations both verbal and written continue as the Canadian Government offers to resurface the runway and build a fire hall.
In a letter dated 11th March 1988 Nevis Island Administration agree in principle to lease with an option to purchase the lands owned by R.D. E. Yearwood.
In a letter dated 11th July 1988 Nevis Island Administration request to purchase Airport lands.
23rd May 1997 R. D. E. Yearwood commissions survey of lands that the extended runway will occupy, some 22.4667 acres.
In a letter dated 23rd October 1997 The Manager of the Nevis Housing and Land development Corporation (NHLDC) offers to purchase Airport lands at a rate of EC$ 5.00/ sqft.
10th December 1998 on the request of the Nevis Island Administration, R. D. E. Yearwood pays EC$ 10,000 to have a draft agreement prepared for the Legal Advisor Mr. M. Anderson to vet.
This agreement offers the Nevis Island Administration the options of
a) Leasing the 22.4667 acres.
b) Purchasing the 22.4667acres.
c) Exchanging the 22.4667 acres for an equitable portion of land owned by either the NIA or the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation.
8th April 1999 Draft agreement presented to Premier Amory.
In a letter dated 22nd January 2001 R. Douglas E. Yearwood objects to the commencement of construction of the new terminal building on his lands without permission or the settlement of the purchase of the airport lands.
2001 the Nevis Island Administration purchases lands from the Chadertons, that the Car Park of the VWA Airport has encroached on, at a rate of $6.00/ft² plus additional, agreed commitments.
All lands that the Airport has been occupying have been purchased by The Nevis Island Administration with the exception of lands owned by R. D. E. Yearwood.
January 2007 the Nevis Island Administration starts discussions on regularising the Airport land ownership issue.
It has to be an unwise practice for the Nevis Island Administration, or any other entity to invest Millions of dollars in buildings and infrastructure on land they do not own.
December 2010 Nevis Air and Sea Port Authority purchases 1.2704 acres at a price of $13.55/ft² for an FBO (Fixed Base Operation).
December 2012 the Nevis Island Administration finally regularises the Airport Land ownership issue. After extensive negotiations and with at least 3 independent valuations, a purchase price of $4.50/ ft² is agreed.
The Yearwood family has always acted in good faith with regard to the Airport Lands. We have always accommodated the Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority and the Management of the Airport on numerous issues relating to the operation of the VWA Airport. Bearing all of this in mind, the heirs of R. Douglas E. Yearwood find it both disturbing and distressing, that members of our society would use the social media and radio, to tarnish our family name.
The suggestion that the Airport lands were previously purchased by Government, or that the Airport lands were Crown Lands is false and a deliberate act of propaganda.
We are surprised at the suggestion that the lands have been sold at an inflated price, when you consider the fact that:
- In 1997, the Nevis Housing & Lands Development Corporation offered to purchase the said lands at $5.00/ft². A higher price than was accepted some 15 years later.
- In 2001, adjacent lands were purchased by the NIA at $6.00/ft² plus additional, agreed commitments.
- In 2010, adjacent lands were purchased by the NIA at $13.55/ft².
Starting in 1956, The Government has used the lands of R. Douglas E. Yearwood for the benefit of the people of Nevis and visitors without paying a single penny of compensation, although compensation was requested on a number of occasions. In fact the government has accepted the payment of property tax on the said lands throughout this 56 year period. After 56 years of the lands being used by Government, unpaid, the heirs of R. Douglas E. Yearwood have sold the lands below market value!
One must question who is spreading this propaganda and for what purpose.