Tue | Jun 18, 2019

Some MoBay cholera graves dug up years ago, says mayor

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2019 | 12:20 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis has expressed disappointment with the resistance by some stakeholders to the decision by the St James Municipal Corporation to convert a centuries-old cholera cemetery in the city into a car park.

Addressing a meeting of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week, Davis said he was saddened that a well-needed amenity that could alleviate Montego Bay’s perennial parking and congestion problems was being met with consternation.

He said this response was in stark contrast to the response that was received by a major development next door to the cemetery, a few years ago, during which the developers were allowed to not only encroach on the property but also exhume remains.

“During that time, a number of graves were impacted; a number of remains were dug and removed and taken away, and there was no outcry. Whether or not it was done in a clandestine manner, I don’t know, but a part of that development encroaches on the existing cholera cemetery ... ,” Davis explained.

“When development is taking place, I am not one who thinks it should take place at all costs, but we are here now, and we need space,” he added.

He said since the story regarding the plans was published in The Sunday Gleaner earlier this month, he has been approached by “two major players in Montego Bay” who have offered to partner with the corporation to ensure that the project comes to fruition.

According to Davis, these persons have seen “the need to have additional parking in that area”, especially in light of the imminent demand for parking spaces that will accrue when the revival of hotels and defunct enterprises located along the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard is completed.

“Can you imagine when the old Casa Montego is revived? Can you imagine when other investments along the strip are completed? Where do we park? Where do we go?” Davis asked.

Davis said the municipal corporation was observing the full legal process to obtain a change-of-use permit for the property. The mayor added that further public consultation on the matter was also being pursued.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com