Tue | Sep 25, 2018

McNeill urges more discussions on Little Bay squatters

Published:Monday | May 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Western Dr Wykeham McNeill has urging more discussion over the disputed property in Little Bay in his constituency.

"I believe that formal discussions must be held on how we move forward, and I don't think the residents are hostile in that regard," McNeill told The Gleaner.

According to McNeill, the issue is long-standing and complex, and he is aware that discussions have been held on the matter.

"They (the squatters) have a formal association, and that is how they are in touch with me - through that association. I don't know the owners. Persons have been on the lands 20, 30, 40 years, and I have known them for years.

"There are towns on the property, schools are there. The law is the law, and we all agree with it. However, there has to be some discussion with persons. You can't just treat them as chattels," said McNeill.

"To my certain knowledge, they have brought it to the attention of the prime minister, to Minister (Horace) Chang, the public defender, and I know Minister (Karl) Samuda is aware of the matter. But I can't say more on that ... ," added McNeill.

He said that he was unaware of any offer made to the residents to move to other sections of the land.

"I was negotiating in 2004 with both sides, and it ended up in bloodshed, so I want a resolution. Nobody disputes there is a judgment, but there is a view that there are other sides to the judgment. No one has said to me, as the elected representative, that here are some middle grounds that we are willing to pursue," argued McNeill.

Lawyers representing the owners of the property have called a press conference for today to provide more information on the issue.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com