Wed | Dec 7, 2016

IDB building breaches law

Published:Monday | March 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, SIR:

I have noted with alarm the grand groundbreaking ceremony led by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and a sign erected by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), signalling that it will be constructing its offices on a lot of land on Montrose Road, near to Vale Royal (the official residence of the prime minister) in the Seymour Lands area of south eastern St Andrew, otherwise referred to as 'The Golden Triangle' - a prime residential area which is not zoned for commercial buildings (under which offices are classified).

The IDB has been a faithful ally and partner to Jamaica for more than 40 years. Jamaica has benefited significantly from the agency's expertise in a wide array of subjects, ranging from education to agriculture. Just recently, the multilateral agency sponsored a programme to provide Jamaican entrepreneurs with venture capital financing. This is one multilateral Jamaica cannot afford to isolate, especially when its officials are claiming that Jamaica is an ideal business destination.

However, for the multilateral agency to be planning to construct an office in the residential neighbourhood of Montrose Road is inappropriate and unfortunate. Jamaica is governed by the rules of law and not of men.

The law should be equally applied to all organisations. This development has already been approved by the relevant agencies, including the National Environment and Planning Agency. Well-thinking Jamaicans do not oppose the construction of an office for the IDB in Jamaica, because this will enhance the country's profile in the international investing community. But we will not support any decision to further commercialise residential communities.

The Kingston and St Andrew Corporation is quite adept at denigrating local entrepreneurs for commercialising residential neighbourhoods, but the organisation does not appear to be willing to apply the law in relation to the IDB.

We cannot undermine our laws to appease external powers. We are calling for the approval of this commercial building in a residential community to be reversed.

PETER A. TOWNSHEND

President, National

Democratic Movement

peteratownsend@gmail.com