Andrew Holness, two mouth cutlass defends land grab

Andrew Holness, two-mouth cutlass defends land grab

 

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In a display of raw emotions, Prime Minister
Andrew Holness has declared that there should be
“no political compromise” on the rule of law
relative to the illegal acquisition of government
lands to build houses. 


Andrew Holness

Holness, who has been facing backlash in recent
days for ordering the demolition of housing
structures on lands captured and sold by gangsters
close to Clifton in the Greater Bernard Lodge
Development area, is contending that he has
reached the stage in his political career where
his legacy as the country’s leader takes
precedence over his popularity.


My job as your prime minister

“My job as your prime minister… I have passed
the stage of trying to or needing to win
political popularity and favor 
 doesn’t
matter to me
anymore,” said
Holness,
while 
addressing the
handing over of
units at the
Roseneath Park
Housing Development
in Old Harbour, St
Catherine, on
Wednesday. 


I have to start thinking

“I have to start thinking about my legacy. What
will Jamaica be? Will it be the same as I came and
saw it?” asked the prime minister as his voice
cracked.


After a brief pause, while almost in tears, he
said, “I can’t let Jamaica be the same as I came
and saw it.”


The Opposition People’s National Party

The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has
been critical of Holness for ordering the
demolition of the unfinished houses in Clifton,
but other people have praised him for his stance
on squatting. 


Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, the prime
minister named the Clansman gang as the
criminal outfit that has benefited from the
illegal sale of land in the community. The
police and the Major Organised Crime and
Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) have been called in
by the Government to investigate. 


Holness also disclosed

Holness also disclosed that “land scams” are
emerging across the island, with reports coming
out of Mount Edgecombe in St Ann, Naseberry Grove,
and Thetford in St Catherine, as well as
Retirement and Providence in St James. 


emotionally charged

In his emotionally charged address on
Wednesday, Holness underscored that the
Government recognizes the challenges being
experienced by Jamaicans when it comes to home
ownership, but said the laws must be
followed.
 


He also noted the injustices

He also noted the injustices meted out to the
country’s forefathers through slavery that
lingers today but further underscored that
Jamaicans must now be responsible for following
the rule of law. 


“There are still generations of Jamaicans
coming out of the plantation that owns no
property, and that is an injustice!” he
declared.


“… But when you are the State and you are an
independent State, you have to enforce law and
order, the rule of law is absolutely important
to the State.


“It is the rule of law that will ensure equity
and fairness,” Holness maintained. 


According to him, the Government has to put in
place a system that ensures everyone can get
access to land and houses. 


increase the capacity of the Government

“So, we going to do couple things. First, we
going to enforce the law, and in parallel, we
going to increase the capacity of the Government
to provide a formal, fair, and efficient process
that gives a fair opportunity to every Jamaican
to own their own home that is at a standard of
habitation and shelter that all Jamaicans can be
proud of,” he explained. 


“… And that is what we are doing,” he
suggested, pointing to the National Housing
Trust’s ongoing thrust to deliver a number of
houses.


the prime minister lamented

However, the prime minister lamented that the
ease of communicating the Government’s efforts
of enforcing the law relative to capturing
lands illegally is being derailed by persons
he referred to as “vested interests”.


He elaborated, “It is not an easy task to
communicate this, because there are vested
interests who want to turn this into a
political issue for their political
benefits.


“There must never be any political
compromises about the rule of law. 


enforcement of the rule of law

“For decades we have been winking and being
duplicitous and equivocal about the
enforcement of the rule of law, and that is
why we are where we are today,” stated
Holness.

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