Relocate them! - Stakeholders want persons living near sea sent elsewhere
Civil society leaders in Negril and Lucea have called on the Government to move quickly to subdivide and sell relocation lands to persons currently living at the edge of the sea.
Residents of Nonpariel Road in Negril and Esher in Lucea have been waiting for years to be relocated to sites at Sheffield in Westmoreland and Lances Bay in Hanover, respectively.
"One of the settlements in Lucea is in front of Global Villas in Esher, right on the coast. Now, it looks like a government that doesn't have any interest in its people to allow that," co-founder of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Daniel Grizzle, said.
"We are gonna have rough seas and storms and hurricanes. If a big hurricane comes with those people that close to the sea, it is a risk that one morning you wake up and find that a whole family has disappeared," he continued.
Nerris Hawthorne, chairman of the Lucea Development Initiative, said the residents in Esher were relocated temporarily when a new highway was being constructed in the early 2000s. He said it was the intention to relocate the residents to Lances Bay on 50 acres of government lands.
"It's time for them to do the subdivision, put in the infrastructure, and let the people have a place for themselves," Hawthorne said. "They deserve their own piece of land with their title to build their proper houses ... These are the things that you have a member of parliament there for. The MP should have taken this to the Government.
Grizzle said he was disturbed that a resettlement plan for informal settlers in Nonpariel Road in Negril has been stalled, due to the absence of basic infrastructure needed within the parcel of relocation land that member of parliament for Western Westmoreland, Wykeham McNeill, had lobbied for and secured for the residents.
"Those people are willing to pay for the little plot of land. All that is holding it up is they haven't got the money for the subdivision to put in the infrastructure. But that's a very poor argument. The Tourism Enhancement Fund has a lot of money, the National Housing Trust has a lot of funds ... A lot of those people work in tourism, they contribute to NIS and NHT. They are not asking for it to be free; they are willing to pay," Grizzle said.