The Island No One Owns : Planet Money In Barbuda, land isn't a thing you buy. It's something you just... have. Put up a fence and it's yours. But all that might change. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

The Island No One Owns

The Island No One Owns

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Sarah Gonzalez/NPR
Natalia "Hey Gal" John in Barbuda
Sarah Gonzalez/NPR

If you want to build a house on the Carribean island of Barbuda, you can just put up a fence wherever you want, and have it. You don't pay for it. You don't sign for anything. You just have to be Barbudan. Barbudans have held their pink sand paradise "in common" since the 1800s. No titles. No paperwork.

But on the heels of a major disaster, the Prime Minister came up with a new plan. He wants to sell Barbudans the plot of land they have been living on for one Eastern Caribbean dollar and give them legally binding property titles they can take to a bank, to help rebuild. But a lot of Barbudans don't want the deal.

Music: "Club Soda" and "A Puzzling Case"

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