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January 24, 2014
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Residents refuse gunmen's rent tax - Being charged up to $60k to live in own home
André Williams, STAR Writer

Residents of Pleasant Heights in Rockfort, Kingston, say they will continue to repel against thugs who demand rent money, ranging from $10,000 to $60,000 per household from them to live in their own home.

THE WEEKEND STAR understands that gangsters from a neighbouring community, seeing the amount of add-ons and construction of large homes in the area, have ordered occupants to pay the monthly fee or vacate the house and community or face the consequences.

So bad is the situation, a police post has been erected in the area in order to protect the residents. But residents have vowed to fight the requests, saying they will remain steadfast and work with the security forces.

"It's happening, we decide we not gonna have it up here and a dat cause the conflict, so the police are posted here," one resident said. Adding that the thugs are from a neighbouring community with which a war is reportedly brewing.

Another resident said the police have had to be on guard night and day as they are monitored by the thugs.

"That's why the police dem have a post on the borderline because if dem move dem ago come terrorise we," he said. "If they are carrying on with it down there, let dem keep it down there, we don't want it up here. We build our house and we don't intend fi nobody come and say this month you affi pay $60,000 or you affi pay $40,000."

The residents say the amount of rent money requested by the thugs depends on how many adults are in the household. Children are discounted.

"If the woman alone deh deh and she pay $10,000, from she bring in a man it raise to $20,000 ... ina har owna house weh she build. They don't charge for children, they charge for who is coming there to live, and if yuh can't pay, you afi run weh," another revealed.

One woman said the rent charge came about after thugs ventured into the area and saw that many large houses had been constructed. "Dem come and say a dem fi control dem house ya and a it cause a conflict. But a one thing we a build and we nah stop build," she insisted.

Head of the Area 4 police, Assistant Commissioner George Quallo, described the gunmen's actions as brazen and disgraceful.

"This type of disgraceful behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated," Quallo said in a release.

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