Man threatens to lock Transport Authority's pound - says body owes him $9 million in rent
A Portland man is threatening to lock the gates to a pound which he claims is operated by the Transport Authority. The man, Berchell Melbourne, said that Transport Authority owes him rent for the use of the property which he claims to own.
"Transport Authority is on my land for four years now, and they refuse to pay rent. I have all the dialogue wid dem, but dem tek me fi idiot," said Melbourne, who did not produce a title to support his claim of ownership.
He claims to be due rent of $200,000 per month or some $9.4 million to date.
The Transport Authority has, however, dismissed his claims and they have been paying rent to another person who has satisfied them that he is the owner of the property.
"We do not have any properties that we occupy that we do not have legal tenure [for]. Every property that we are currently on, we have legal tenure to be at these places," public relations manager at the Transport Authority, Petra-Keane Williams, said.
Melbourne told THE STAR that he had made it clear to the Transport Authority four years ago that the ownership of the land was in dispute. He said that he told the Transport Authority that the land should be left alone. He said his wishes were ignored, and now the authority does not want to pay him to use the land, which he said was transferred to him.
However, Williams said: "Our lawyers have not seen any documentation, and we have an agreement with who seems to be the owner of the premises, and we have met all our obligations."
Melbourne wrote to Transport Minister Mike Henry asking for his intervention. However, the minister said that "based on the relevant information on our files, investigation carried out into this matter and the Court of Appeal's decision, dated October 13, 2013, the matter has been determined as to the ownership of the property. Henry said that he would only meet with Melbourne if he has new information to support his claims that he owns the land.
Melbourne, however, is adamant about getting his rent and has stated that if he is not paid soon, he will be taking action against the Transport Authority.
"Me nah run dem, me just want me money. But if dem nuh pay me in 30 days, me a go lock me gate," he said.