Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Compensation coming as relocation looms for MoBay bypass

Published:Friday | December 13, 2019 | 12:31 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Member of Parliament Dr Horace Chang.
Member of Parliament Dr Horace Chang.


Homeowner Suzette Virgo, whose home falls in the projected path of the looming J$4.8-billion Montego Bay bypass, says she will have no difficulty in giving into Government’s request to acquire the property on which her Irwin home is located once she is properly compensated.

Virgo, a St James schoolteacher, said that she received a letter from the Government more than six months ago informing her that it might need to acquire her property for the national good.

“I have no problem with making way to facilitate development, once they are prepared to compensate me properly,” said Virgo, albeit admitting that she has sentimental attachments to her childhood home.

“I am not against development because development needs to take place if a country is to grow.”

Earlier this week, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, who is also member of parliament for North West St James, said that the Government would be spending J$500 million to acquire 547 parcels of land between Ironshore and Freeport, in Montego Bay, to relocate residents ahead of the commencement work on the Montego Bay bypass.

The funds are earmarked in the 2020-2021 Budget.

“It was approved only last Monday [December 9] in Cabinet for the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to begin the process of compulsorily acquiring some 547 parcels,” Chang said while addressing a press launch of Dream 36, Montego Bay’s latest private housing development.

The 14-kilometre stretch will be a limited toll road from Ironshore in the north through to the southern end of the city by Bogue. It is expected to offer relief to traffic congestion in the urban city of Montego Bay.

Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, Heroy Clarke, MP for Central St James, confirmed that residents in the Salt Spring and Irwindale communities would be affected by the relocation exercise.

“A team from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation is having dialogue with the residents who will be affected with a view to identifying lands owned by the Government to comfortably relocate them,” Clarke said.

“All these residents will be comfortably compensated. They can choose to live on the land that the Government would provide or at other locations.”