Beach fight

Beach fight

Legal battle brewing over ownership of Trelawny property

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 21, 2020

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — In preparation for a legal battle that is looming over the ownership of Burwood Beach in Trelawny, the parish's municipal corporation has retained legal services to defend its tenure of the facility.

“We have hired two lawyers, one of whom is a Queen's Counsel, to defend the municipal corporation and the people of Trelawny to secure the public bathing beach,” chairman of the municipal corporation C Junior Gager told the Jamaica Observer.

The impending legal showdown stems from a recent incident in which the public beach was commandeered, allegedly by two family members claiming to be the rightful owners of the facility, who tore down a section of the perimeter fence, chained three buildings, and put up “no trespassing” signs on the premises.

The beach was upgraded at a cost of $28 million by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and was officially handed over to the municipal corporation in January 2016.

“They came down and they destroyed a section of the perimeter fencing around the beach, padlocked buildings, threatened our staff, and ordered them off. We had our roads and work team on site when the alarm was made. It was reported to the police who are doing their investigation,” Gager claimed.

He added that, subsequently, the municipal corporation placed armed security guards at the premises.

“We have subsequently removed the lock that was placed on the building and we hired armed security... so that we can protect our staff [in the event of] any other incidents that might happen,” said Gager, who is also mayor of Falmouth.

The Observer has been informed that the municipal corporation, which was then the parish council, has been in possession of a title for the beach since 1961.

“We have been occupying, and have a title for that property for the longest while; years back, years and years. That has been the people's beach of Trelawny,” Gager argued.

However, as far back as 2013, individuals who gave their names as Roger and Howard Jobson commenced work on the property, claiming that they are members of a company that owns the prime beachfront land.

They claimed that the property, which is commonly known as Burwood Beach, is, in fact, named New Court.

“The property (New Court) is owned by a company of which I am director and we have a legal title for it,” Howard told the Observer then, as workmen worked feverishly to erect a perimeter fence at a section of the property.

The Observer has been informed that the beach's parking area sits on a parcel of land which belongs to the Jobson family.

But negotiations between the municipal corporation and the Jobsons to broker a deal over the parcel of land broke down after two other people turned up with documents claiming to be owners of the area.

Then, last summer, the municipal corporation received a 90-day notice from the Jobsons to rectify the erection of buildings on the beach which are encroaching on their land.

Yesterday, efforts to reach one of the Jobson brothers by telephone proved futile as calls to a cellphone number went straight to voicemail.


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