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Stop it!

PM Holness urges homeowners to desist from operating businesses in residential spaces

Observer West reporter

Thursday, August 15, 2019

RHYNE PARK, St James - Prime Minister Andrew Holness has scolded homeowners who operate garages and other commercial entities in residential spaces, arguing that not only is the practice an eyesore, but it also devalues properties.

"There should be no development in Jamaica where that is permitted or allowed…. [It] shouldn't happen, because all you are doing is not just devaluing your own property value, but the property value of your neighbours and that is unfair," the prime minister argued.

"We (are) not fighting anybody trying to earn a bread, but we are not going to progress as a nation where everybody can earn a bread fairly and squarely, if it is done in a disorderly and 'chaka chaka' fashion."

Holness was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for 754 mixed housing units to be constructed in Rhyne Park, St James on Friday.

In tandem with Holness comments, Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis sounded a stern warning to prospective homeowners that the municipality will come down hard on them if they breach the agreement of the development.

"I am putting the potential homeowners on notice that the municipality will be vigilant in ensuring that the covenants governing this development are respected. So, persons who think that they can set up shops, garages, and other commercial activities in breach of the covenant need to think again. The St James Municipal Corporation will have none of that, and any breach will be addressed in the sternest manner," Davis warned.

The prime minister stressed that he will ensure that the development maintains its value.

"I am instructing the HAJ (Housing Agency of Jamaica) that the appropriate covenants are placed on these titles with the appropriate menu of designs that will be acceptable, so that this community does not lose value 10 years time," Holness promised.

And Mayor of Falmouth Councillor C Junior Gager, told the Observer West that currently the Trelawny Municipal Corporation is working with the police to stamp out the practice of homeowners operating garages and other commercial entities in residential spaces, which he said “is rife across the parish.”

"It is really a widespread problem because all over the place you will see little shacks put up beside approved buildings, and that isn't correct. So, we have a team that has been going throughout Trelawny--- north and south--- and we are serving notices, and they must comply," Gager stressed.

He pointed out that persons are not only setting up shop in residential areas, but in close proximity to them.

"We have even served notices on those who are not in the area but they are in adjoining areas surrounding the development. Say for example, the housing development in Stonebrook, there are people camping out in the bushes, building houses there and so those notices have been served. Coming through Clark's Town there are sugar cane lands and all of a sudden you notice that these lands are being marked and there are people who are starting to build little places. Those too, have been served notices," Gager told the Observer West.

Savanna-la-Mar's mayor, Councillor Bertel Moore disclosed that recently the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation and the National Solid Waste Management Authority carried operations in Negril to remove derelict motor vehicles parked at roadside garages.

"Recently we removed some (derelict motor vehicles) from Negril, right on the main there were three of them and there was another section. It's an ongoing thing in Negril. The municipality will go in and put stickers on them for them to be removed and within a certain period if they don't, we do take the action," Moore disclosed.