Wed | Aug 22, 2018

Government pays for land 20 years after forced acquisition

Published:Sunday | July 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman.

Attorney Hugh Wildman says the lawsuit filed against the Government for its failure, up to May this year, to compensate an elderly woman, whose property was forcibly acquired more than 20 years ago under the Northern Coastal Highway project, has been dropped.

Wildman said the matter was expected to go before a judge in chambers just over a week ago, but the Government paid the money due his client, Pauline Hojan, a few days before the court hearing, and hence the matter was withdrawn.

The National Works Agency, (NWA) had agreed to pay Hojan $9 million for the three-acre property at Cousins Cove, Hanover, but had cited lack of funds as reason for not making good on the agreement, and that no funds had been released by the Ministry of Finance to pay for the property.

NWA Chief Executive Officer E.G. Hunter told the Financial Gleaner that his agency received a request for payment of the $9 million on April 11. However, allocations for the highway project in the national budget tabled in Parliament this year only amounted to $500,000. Subsequently, Hojan took legal action, which in turn forced the State to pay over the funds.

Wildman said that in addition to the payment for the land, the Government "will have to pay costs as well" - a reference to the legal fees.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com