- JRC heading to court to evict illegal dwellers
The ongoing saga between the Jamaica Railway Corporation and illegal residential occupants at the People’s Arcade in Montego Bay is set to take another twist, with the Corporation heading to court to have them evicted from the property which it owns.
Vando Palmer, Director of Communications at the Ministry of Transport and Mining, under whose portfolio the JRC falls, says the situation at the Arcade is untenable with grave security and health concerns and widespread electricity theft.
“So, the JRC will be going to court in the first week of March to obtain an order to have them removed. The Health Department (St. James Health Services) has expressed grave concern as a result of illegal occupants there. Information is that in a number of cases, faeces is placed in black bags and parachuted into nearby gullies and other drains and the security forces do not have ease of access to the Arcade.”
Mr. Palmer argues that this is very insanitary and is posing health threats to commercial occupants at the property that the JRC is working to have their tenure regularized.
“Montego Bay has grown at a rate of 6 percent over the past ten years and with that growth has come social challenges as we have been experiencing in the city. So, first and foremost we want to give people a sense of belonging and opportunity if we can unlock the inherent Jamaican trait of entrepreneurship and the drive to provide better for themselves,” explained Gordon.
The Foundation has a three-pronged approach and a capital outlay of 12 million dollars in the initial phase to include entertainment and culture, expected to impact more than 10,000 persons; sports to reach and impact over 20, 000 and education and mentorship to reach and impact more than 10,000 students.
So far, 6 million dollars of the 12 million needed in the initial phase has been raised.
Gordon says to make the Foundation sustainable, they have a strong merchandising programme in place to market and promote printed T-shirts emblazed with #iLoveMoBay and memorabilia to include a wide range of products to include cups, mugs and pins.
As part of the educational initiative, Junior Achievement Jamaica will be launching a competition among students to develop a business plan, for which funds have already been identified for the prize and further to that, a major mentorship programmewill be undertaken.
The sports aspect, he related, is being done in conjunction with the Montego Bay United Football Club and the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control.
For her part, Gibbs says the citizenry has lost the sense of pride and love and the #iLoveMoBay Foundation objective was to bring back love and peace and restore Montego Bay as the Friendly City.
“Our aim is to partner with the right organization and build back that civic pride spreading this message across the city – Montego Bay is open for business, Montego Bay is a great place to be. I a m ready and we are ready to do that,” Gibbs said.