Creary urges municipal police to do more about squatting in Pagee
PORT MARIA, St Mary — Mayor of Port Maria Richard Creary has called on St Mary’s municipal police to do more to curb squatting in the Pagee area of the parish.
“Although there is a short staff of municipal police, I would like this to be a team effort. I will even be a part of the walk-through to help de-escalate the problem,” the mayor said.
He was speaking at the recent monthly meeting of the St Mary Municipal Corporation.
Creary expressed concern about the scale of squatting and the pace with which structures are built.
“You will see a man building a foundation on Saturday and by Monday he moves into a complete house,” said the mayor.
St Mary is not unique in its challenges with squatting and building regulations being flouted. There are examples of the problem all across Jamaica.
Local government authorities such as the St Mary Municipal Corporation, which Creary heads, are tasked with approving building plans and enforcing the law when there are breaches.
The parish’s long-standing challenge with squatters has taken on renewed importance since the opening of its Ian Fleming International Airport. St Mary is expected to benefit from operation of the facility which is set to welcome flights from American Airlines next year.
However, Creary is worried that illegal settling on land is hampering structured development within the parish.
“I wish the day would come where, like other places, Pagee would have a big development like a hotel,” he said. “Once we have such and a man becomes employed, he would be able to find himself in a better space and mindset.”