Opposition Leader and People’s National Party (PNP) President, Mark Golding, has described as a “public relations spin”, the assistance by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to Shaniel Francis, one of the persons whose partially finished housing structures were demolished on land in Clifton in the Greater Bernard Lodge area of Portmore, St Catherine last year.
Francis and others had illegally acquired the lands from persons posing as the land owners, and Holness had ordered that some of the houses under construction should be demolished last October.
Two persons – Suelyn Ward-Brown, reportedly a school principal; and Natalie Walker, said to be the president of a citizen association in the Clifton area – have been charged with offences stemming from the land scam.
During his Budget presentation in Parliament on Thursday, with Francis among guests in attendance, Holness said she will be the first of the displaced residents to be allotted an alternative plot of land.
“I will be assisting her, Madam Speaker, with getting her legal building going,” said Holness while pointing to a video of Francis on her allotted plot of land.
Holness said the illegal structures in Clifton had to be demolished to, among other things, create order, and he chastised Golding for purportedly wanting to support illegal acquisition of land.
“Madam Speaker, because of the long… social history that when a Government is trying to do the right thing, we end up paying a political price, but Madam Speaker, we will not relent from doing the right thing as a Government.
“We are not going to leave Jamaica in a chakka chakka state,” declared Holness in an indirect swipe at the Opposition leader.
But hours after Holness’ Budget presentation, the PNP held a spot meeting in Nannyville, St Andrew, during which Golding scoffed at the prime minister’s assistance.
“… Mi a seh if we never lick out and the embarrassment reach him, she (Francis) wouldn’t get that land enuh. Him never have no intention fi give her nutten when him a lick down that house enuh!” said Golding to cheering comrades.
Golding said the act was nothing but a “public relations spin”, as he suggested that Holness provided no update on the other persons who were scammed into illegally acquiring the lands.