MoBay businessman urges Gov't to upgrade informal settlements with NHT funds
GRANVILLE, St James - CHAIRMAN of the St James Parish Development Committee Mark Kerr-Jarrett has renewed calls for Government, to utilise the employers' contribution held in reserve by the National Housing Trust (NHT), to provide infrastructural development for informal settlements.
Kerr-Jarrett, who was last week addressing the Granville Crime Prevention Summit held at the Sunset Beach Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, argued that the proposed move would serve to stimulate construction activities in squatter communities throughout Jamaica, and the more than 21 informal communities within the Greater Montego Bay area.
Kerr-Jarrett, who is a real estate developer, pointed out that regularisation of these informal communities would bring dignity to the people, adding that more persons would be added to the tax roll, and "everyone would be legally connected to the public utilities".
The enhancement of policing and the delivery of municipal services, ambulance, garbage collection, and fire services would accompany the regularisation of informal settlements, Kerr-Jarrett further argued.
The communities of Granville, Pitfour and Retirement have been identified as critical areas to be addressed in the effort to reduce the unacceptable level of crime and violence in that volatile Granville Police Division, which saw more than 20 persons — from a population of just over 10,000 — murdered last year.
The prominent Montego Bay businessman said that investment in these communities would stimulate construction activities, which would result in the reduction of crime and violence and improvements in the quality of life of the residents.
He estimates that it would cost between $600,000 and $650,000 per lot to provide adequate road, water, electricity, and sewerage for the Pitfour, Granville and Retirement communities. These expenditures, he claimed, would be recovered through mortgage financing from beneficiaries.
The Granville Crime Prevention Summit was undertaken by the Granville Peace Justice and Resource Development Foundation, a non — government community — based organisation, and was sponsored by GraceKennedy and Sunset Beach Resort and Spa.
Panellists included Pastor Charles Brivett of the Granville Seventh- day Adventist Church; Vinton Bucknor, parish Manager Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); and Rebecca Gayle, a representative of the Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).