The Klansman connection

Spanish Town, St Catherine-based criminal organisation dubbed the Klansman gang is believed to have collected millions of dollars from unsuspecting people who paid up to $800,000 each for land adjacent to the approved Clifton settlement in the Greater Bernard Lodge development area in the parish.

A Jamaica Observer probe has revealed that a top-ranking member of the Klansman gang was the person who collected cash for the parcels of land sold to people who believed that they were in legitimate business with the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ), which is the owner of the lands.

When the partially-done buildings were demolished by the State last Thursday there were claims that the person who sold the land was an employee of the SCJ, who did the transactions on its behalf. But in a release last Sunday SCJ Holdings Managing Director Joseph Shoucair described the claims as “nonsense”.

According to Shoucair, the SCJ does not carry out the sale of lands in such a lax manner. Shoucair further said that no individual was authorised to collect cash on behalf of the SCJ.

As the controversy continued over the demolition of the illegal houses, the Observer was on Monday pointed to an alleged top-ranking member of the Klansman gang who had reportedly carried out the transactions for the properties with people desperate homeowners.

“We heard about it and an investigation was launched at which point the people were served with notices to cease all construction on the property,” said one Government source.

“The notices were served on March 12 and we have pictures of the notices being posted. The people were warned that ‘all permanent structures and other structures remaining on the property after this notice would be demolished,’ so it is unfair to say the Government acted unfair almost seven months later,” argued the Government source.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told Parliament that, “The National Security Council, in reviewing the development plan, has observed an insidious and growing threat in the area, where alleged gangsters were capturing lands in the area adjoining the Clifton community, creating their own informal subdivision, and selling the lands under the false pretext of ownership or building on it themselves.

“This illegal capturing and building on public or private land will not be tolerated… We will not allow criminal gangs to create communities in the country,” added Holness.

It has been alleged that heavily armed Klansman gangsters have been walking through the approved settlement declaring their control of the area.

On Monday, a number of Government officials refused to go on the record to answer questions from the Observer as they indicated that Holness would make a statement to Parliament today to outline the sequence of events.

The demolition of the houses, ordered by Holness, created a firestorm last week with some people attacking the Government for its action while supporters of the Holness Administration and others argued that it is time for action against the illegal capturing of land to build squatter settlements.

Some Jamaicans also commended the prime minister for moving decisively against criminality.

People who had started construction on the land were left in tears as men on tractors worked to demolish the structures last Thursday.

The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has since announced that it will be assisting the residents with legal fees to take action against the Government.

According to the PNP, the action of the Government represents a blatant disregard for the tenets of the United Nations Convention on Human Rights and supporting international conventions to which Jamaica is a party.

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