SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine — Spanish Town Mayor Norman Scott joined his fellow member of the parliamentary Opposition and councillor for the Edgewater Division Alrick Campbell on Thursday in a call for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to demolish a commercial building in the division. The abandoned structure, they said, is a haven for criminals.
“The Portmore Municipality used the Towns Nuisances Prevention Act in collaboration with St Catherine South Division to declare the particular building as a public nuisance,” Campbell explained. “We then wrote to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to acquire the cost to conduct the demolition.”
He said the municipality has yet to receive a response from the JDF, hence the call for the prime minister’s intervention.
“In light of the demolition exercise that took place in Clifton, St Catherine, where the honourable PM took on that operation — in his capacity, whether as prime minister or demolition man — [we need him] to help us to get this building in Edgewater demolished,” said Campbell.
“At some point the building was locked down by the police. However, since it has not been demolished, the criminals are occupying the building as we speak. We are, therefore, calling on the prime minister to get the [National] Security Council involved and do that demolition for us,” he added.
There has been a firestorm of public debate since Holness’s October 6 order for the demolition of structures in Clifton, saying it was a matter of national security. On October 11, Holness told the Parliament that what had been torn down were 10 unfinished structures adjacent to the Clifton settlement in the Greater Bernard Lodge development area, where the notorious Klansman gang is said to have been establishing control in a land sale racket.
Both major political parties have traded barbs over the issue in Parliament, while members of the Opposition People’s National Party — including Scott — have been scathing in their criticism of the approach taken to the land grab at Clifton. This spilled over into Thursday’s meetings of some local authorities across the country.
During the meeting of the St Catherine Municipality, Campbell asked Scott, in his capacity as mayor, to officially make the call for Holness to demolish the commercial building that is causing them concern at the local level.
When contacted by the Jamaica Observer, Acting Senior Superintendent of Police Hopeton Nicholson said the Jamaica Constabulary Force is aware of the building in question and regularly polices the premises. He added that they are ready to provide the necessary security support to carry out the demolition.