Tue | Aug 4, 2020

'Gate crash' - PM promises movement on gated community law

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2017 | 12:00 AMRuddy Mathison
Chairman of the NHT Ambassador Dr Nigel Clarke (second left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) surrrounded by beneficiaries at the handover of keys for the Berkshire Court development in Spanish Town, St Catherine, last Friday.
A motorist entering the New Harbour Housing Scheme, one of the many gated communities in St Catherine.

The long-awaited legislation to regulate the operation of gated communities across the island could soon become a reality.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness last Friday announced that a Gated Community Legislation is now being prepared to be placed before Parliament.

Describing the proposed legislation as similar to the Strata Cooperation Act, Holness said it will recognise community associations as legitimate authorities with the responsibility of making sure that the value of communities are maintained for future generations.

Speaking at a handover ceremony for 44 National Housing Trust (NHT) two-bedroom town houses in the new Berkshire Court Housing Development on Brunswick Avenue in Spanish Town, St Catherine, Holness argued that the cycle of poverty can only be broken when homeowners start to see the need to maintain the value of their community.

"In communities like these, we must ensure that we maintain the regulations without exception, because if we consider what is poverty it is the lack of value," said Holness.

"It is the preservation and increase in value that breaks poverty, so we must not give excuses for diminishing values," added Holness.




He implored homeowners who received keys to their new homes to do everything in their power to preserve the value of the property in which they have invested for their children.

In May, The Sunday Gleaner reported the concerns of property managers and others tasked with managing gated communities without the legislation in place.

Paying residents of these communities told our news team that they have been made to suffer as their garbage collection and gardening services were discontinued due to non-payment by other residents.

"Persons want to live there. They want the luxury and ability to say that they are living there, but when it comes to payment that is where the problem is. People don't feel they need to pay the money," lamented Laurence Peart, a former executive of the New Harbour Village Citizens' Association Phase I.

He was supported by Raam Naraysingh, property manager at Caymanas Estate, who noted that some homeowners were not paying the $4,700 monthly maintenance fee.

"You know, you came with the understanding that you had to pay a monthly fee (for) the upkeep of the security, for the common areas. You have to pay for the maintenance of the pool, too," said Naraysingh.

In 2003, Robert Pickersgill, the then minister of land, environment and climate change, promised plans to draft what was dubbed the 'Common Areas Act' - to deal with unruly residents and other gated-community woes.