MONTEGO BAY, St James — FORMER President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mark Kerr-Jarrett is urging Government to use National Housing Trust (NHT) employers' contributions, to upgrade and regularise informal settlements across the island.
Kerr-Jarrett, who is also a Montego Bay land developer, suggested further that the upgrading of the informal settlements should commence in the inner-city communities of Montego Bay and Kingston "where they have the most deleterious effect on the social and economic fabric of the country".
In a move to avoid the creation of other informal settlements, Kerr-Jarrett added, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) should be tasked with the responsibility of securing Crown lands.
"Prevent further squatting by giving the JDF the responsibility to manage and secure all the Crown lands as they have the assets and training to perform this task," Kerr-Jarrett charged.
He argued that should it become necessary, Members of Parliament and Senators should pilot the amendment to the Defence Act, or other laws to accommodate the proposed modification of the soldiers' duties.
Kerr-Jarrett was speaking last week at a forum organised by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) in partnership with the Observer West at the chamber's Overton Plaza headquarters in the resort city.
The meeting was aimed at facilitating discussions geared towards identifying workable solutions to problems stemming from illegal activities such as scamming and credit card fraud.
Meanwhile, President of the MBCCI Davon Crump is calling on Government to expedite the passage of legislation which will empower law enforcers to speed up the prosecution of players in the lottery scam.
Crump noted that the chamber is cognisant of the fact that scamming activities have been perpetuated in the resort city due to the "large concentration of businesses engaged in the sectors from which they can get potential targets".
He lamented that "the lottery scam issue" is painting a negative picture of Montego Bay.
"We also want to address what appears to be a new labelling of Montego Bay, which does not help to promote or attract new investments, neither does it illuminate the economic contribution that the community makes to the nation," bemoaned Crump.
"By having these discussions, we hope to not only highlight the issues, but to seek out the solutions and ensure that those who are elected or appointed to serve us, deliver according to the mandate of their offices or institutions."