JAMAICA | PNP Proposes Win-win Solution to Quell Little Bay Land Dispute

JAMAICA | PNP Proposes Win-win Solution to Quell Little Bay Land Dispute

Kingston, Jamaica: The People’s National Party (PNP) is urging the Government to immediately use its powers under the Local Improvements (Community Amenities) Act to achieve a peaceful and reasonable settlement of the simmering impasse between the longstanding residents and the landowner of property at Little Bay/Brighton, Westmoreland.

 That Act empowers the Minister of Housing (an office now held by the Prime Minister himself) to declare specified land to be absent orderly development, which thereby freezes all evictions and new tenancies while a development plan for the land is prepared. The PNP believes that the use of this law is the best course of action to quell fears and tensions in the area, and allow for a mediated settlement to be found which reasonably balances the interests of the existing residents and the landowner.

The PNP acknowledges that the call for this approach was first made via a letter sent on April 11, 2022 to the Prime Minister by the lawyers of the affected residents.

PNP President Mark Golding said, “This statutory mechanism should be implemented with urgency, as it enables the Government to lawfully forestall further action to evict the residents, thereby creating the opportunity to mediate a workable way forward that balances the legitimate interests of the contending parties, perhaps involving key agencies such as the National Housing Trust.”

Mr. Golding continued, “It is possible for such a solution to be found, if the Government is proactive in pursuing it. It would be irresponsible and unacceptable for the Government to remain passive amidst the imminent threat of destruction of the long-established homes and businesses of so many families. The Government is elected to protect all citizens of this country, not just the wealthy and connected.”

The Opposition is calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who oversees the Housing portfolio, to move with haste to forge the win-win solution that the law puts him in the unique position to pursue, and avoid the further deterioration of an already dangerous situation.

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