Mon | Apr 22, 2019

StJMC going after J$75m in back rent at Bogue lands

Published:Wednesday | March 20, 2019 | 12:14 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis says that the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) will be publishing notices for occupants of the controversial Bogue Industrial Estate property in Montego Bay to pay J$75 million in outstanding rent before any sale agreements are signed.

The property, which has been at the centre of political squabbling for several years, was illegally occupied by business operators, who currently occupy 26 lots at the location.

“We’re seeking to collect the money owed to the corporation for mesne profits (money paid for land occupation to a person with the right of immediate occupation), which is some J$75 million, and we’re going to step it up a notch,” said Davis. “We’re going to be putting something in the daily newspapers, asking those people to come in and pay us.”

“We’re going to put their names, the lot numbers, and the amount of money that is owed,” said Davis. “Under the Government’s land-­divestment policy, for anyone to be sold any government land, they must be in good standing, and part of the good standing is that they must not have any rent or lease in arrears.”

Davis noted that the J$75 ­million being sought by the municipal corporation amounts to six years’ worth of overdue rent for the property.

“We’re in possession of the title, and we’re prepared to sell. It’s before the Ministry of Local Government and ready to be signed off on, so we’re ­seeking to get all our mesne profits that’s ­outstanding, which is six years’ back-rental. We need that money before we enter into any ­agreement with anyone,” added Davis.

A recent report from the Office of the Contractor General revealed that the previous People’s National Party-majority administration of the StJMC breached the Government’s land-divestment policy in 2015 when it tried to sell the lots to the squatters based on a 2009 land valuation.

The report recommended that the lots be sold based on current market value.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com