Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Phillips accuses Holness administration of taking lands away from poor

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has accused the Andrew Holness-led administration of taking lands in Bernard Lodge, St Catherine, from farmers and putting them into the hands of “well connected” people who are set to undertake a massive development of the area.

Phillips, who was on the political hustings in Port Antonio Square on Sunday, said the alleged land grab was the latest in a string of scandals rocking the administration.

“Take the problem that we hearing about out at Bernard Lodge in St Catherine. You have some ordinary farmer a work the land, more than a hundred of them working the land – land that PNP give them to work – them get notice that them must move.

“And what going to happen to the land? Three or four big man, well connected, a get the land,” Phillips said, accusing the Holness administration of impropriety.

“No announcement, no tender, no advertisement, just some people through fi dem links and fi dem connection getting ordinary people to suffer more while those who have enough already a get more,” the PNP president added.

Bernard Lodge Master Plan

Prime Minister Holness, in March 2018, announced that Cabinet had approved the Bernard Lodge Land Use Master Plan for the development of a new town in the area once dedicated to sugar cane farming.

The development includes the provision of shared infrastructure services, residential housing, commercial offices and light industrial operations.

But the planned development of Bernard Lodge has sparked controversy, with allegations being levelled against the Government about the manner in which agricultural land was being divested.

The master plan covers 4,677 acres, which is less than 10 per cent of the more than 50,000 acres of agricultural lands in the St Catherine/Clarendon plains.