Clinton Pickering – Freelance Writer
Efforts by the St James Municipal Corporation to rid the city of Montego Bay of several abandoned and unsightly buildings, are proving frustrating.
Under Section 4 of the Town Nuisance Prevention Act, there are eleven buildings in the city that have been certified by the Superintendent to be so dilapidated, they were “considered a danger to the public.”
The list includes premises at the old Vassell building, 3 Albion Lane, 8 Hart Street, registered to Transworld Traders Int. Ltd.; 36 Barnet View Gardens, registered to Adella Johnson, et al; one on Barracks Road, registered to Percival Wilson. On Market Street, 33 which is registered to Luiton Lewin; 50, registered to George Downer and 52, registered to Derrick McLeod.
The others are: 8 Queen’s Street, registered to Marion James, et al; 8 Queen’s Drive, registered to Fred Smith; 18, Thompson Street, registered to Ivy Craig and 42 Union Street, registered to West Indies Union of SDA.
The required resolution for notices to be served on the parties to abate “this nuisance” was passed several months ago, stating that “the Superintendent has declared these lands or buildings to be dangerous to the public, neighbours or to persons who may enter or to adjoining buildings.”
However, in recent months, the Corporation’s desire to see the declared nuisance abated has had to be tempered. They have been in court for months for “a Conditional Order to abate or give the Council (Corporation) authority to dispose of these properties” but at each succeeding meeting, the Corporation has been hearing that here has been no further update and they were still in the court.
Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis, is anxious to have the problem addressed. He questioned, “What are we doing about those buildings? Tell me, we don’t have the authority? I don’t think we should have these buildings giving a bad image to the city.”
Other councillors agreed with him, stressing that, “They are a clear and present danger” and should be removed forthwith.
Councillor Richard Vernon, in whose division some of the derelict structures are to be found, expressed the view that, “Oftentimes, we do try to get things done (but), we try through the wrong channels; we are backed by many Acts that give us the authority to carry out certain activities, so in this case, we don’t need any lawyer.”