New Kingston land battle - Top businessman in fight over prime property
A major row with allegations of fraud and other illegal activities is developing among some of the Corporate Area's leading businessmen over a prime plot of land in the vicinity of New Kingston.
Developer and business operator Richard Lake moved the dispute into the public domain late last week as he confirmed that he had sought the assistance of the police commissioner to remove persons he claims are illegally occupying the premises that his company, Caribbean Resource Limited (CRL), purchased during a public auction earlier this year.
According to Lake, a director in CRL, the property, an open lot located at 1 Waterloo Road, was purchased for $190 million in January.
He charged that the initial owners of the property are unlawfully preventing CRL from taking control of it.
Lake, a known backer of the People's National Party (PNP), alleged that since the sale, the directors of the company that owned the property, and a former senior officer in the PNP who claims to have leased the property, have retained security guards to bar anyone from entering it.
"As far as CRL is concerned ... [the two entities] are trespassers; and every attempt made by CRL to involve the police in removing the parties from the property has been futile," said Lake in his letter to the police commissioner dated May 8.
"We seek your assistance to have the problem resolved, as we continue to incur costs and expenses while these persons illegally occupy our property.
"We are willing to discuss the matter with your office at any time convenient to you and look forward to your assistance," added Lake.
He said the initial owners have attempted to stop the takeover in court on at least two occasions, and according to Lake, in both attempts the court ruled against them.
So far, efforts to get comment from the other parties have been unsuccessful.