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LETTER OF THE DAY - Regularise and tax land capturers

Published:Saturday | January 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

It is a disgrace that government lands that have been captured are in the hands of many Jamaicans for more than five years, and that these people have been allowed to construct solid, concrete houses, some two storeys high, with not titles to show. What is the Government going to do?

Across Jamaica, these lands are being gobbled up, some on prime real estate and the parish councils seem to have turned a blind eye. Many have had new roads cut, pipes for water, lights, and telephone service installed. Yet, these same people are not even paying taxes.

The Government is asking more of its citizens, yet they are not doing what they were hired to do. These untitled landowners need to be brought into the economic fold, and made to start paying their fair share of taxes too. I am sure many of them would gladly oblige.

Start housecleaning

The parish councils need to take a page out of the acting police commissioner, Owen Ellington's book, and start to clean house of the corruption within. The prime minister really needs to take a very serious look at these parish councils. This is where I believe a lot of the country's assets are being squandered.

As you look at many parishes, and St Thomas and Portland come to mind, their roads are so bad as though they have not been looked at since horse-and-buggy days. If the parish councils don't manage their coffers, then how can things such as roads, water pipes, to name a few, be fixed? None of the government buildings in Morant Bay has even had a paint job over the holidays. Where has our civic pride gone?

Way too long

It has been way too long that decent, law-abiding Jamaicans sit on their hands just to watch our beloved country taken over by bad characters. I say to you Prime Minister Golding, get rid of the corrupt politicians just as you are getting rid of the corrupt police officers. Then put in place tighter measures to ensure everyone is paying his or her fair share of taxes.

The country must collect taxes in order to be run properly. I have no quarrel about that. But it must be done properly. You cannot have only some paying and others not. Therefore, these capturers of state lands must be accounted for. I say they all need to be penalised by being required to pay something in back taxes, and it can be spread out. But, also, they should start paying currently with their titles being issued.

I am, etc.,