Members of a joint police-military team are now on location in Greater Bernard Lodge where Prime Minister, Andrew Holness has served notice that structures constructed illegally on lands reportedly captured and sold by gangsters in the Greater Bernard Lodge development area in St Catherine will be demolished.
Holness issued the warning about the planned clampdown during a statement in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. According to the prime minister, gangsters have captured the lands in proximity to Clifton and have been preying on the residents.
On Thursday hours after the prime minister made the statement, a large team of police and soldiers were seen along with operators of several pieces of heavy-duty equipment close to the facilities that were to be demolished.
Some persons living in the area say those who were caught in the scheme of purchasing illegal lands and constructing houses have lost millions.
The prime minister said following surveillance and the submission of a report, “we have discovered that in proximity to Clifton, there is an area that has been captured”. Specifically, Holness said it has been determined that gangsters have been selling lots to people in the captured area.
“The National Security Council in reviewing the development plan, has observed an insidious and growing threat in the area, where alleged gangsters were capturing lands in the area adjoining the Clifton community, creating their own informal subdivision, and selling the lands under the false pretext of ownership or building on it themselves,” said Holness.
He showed slides of huge concrete structures and remarked that “these are not the structures of poor people squatting”.
The prime minister said SCJ Holdings Limited which owns the lands, has given warnings and served notices for individuals to cease and desist. But, he said “the capturing and illegal construction has continued to the point where some 30 structures have been identified.”