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Demolition halted at illegal settlement in Bernard Lodge

Member of Parliament for St. Catherine Southern Fitz Jackson says demolition of illegally constructed houses near Clifton in Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine has been halted.

About 30 illegally erected housing projects on Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) lands were slated to be demolished following a directive from Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Prime Minister Holness told Parliament on Wednesday that gangsters have been selling lands in the area under the pretext of ownership or building on them, which poses a security threat to development.

Demolition in the area started on Thursday morning but Mr. Jackson told Radio Jamaica News later in the day that the exercise was halted following his intervention. 

He said he had called the Prime Minister as well as the SCJ, after which the entity agreed that it would not yet demolish structures for which persons had a certificate of possession.

Mr. Jackson said the SCJ decided to "hold the demolition for at least the next 48 hours" and only demolish about 11 houses that were "clearly on the agricultural land". 

A resident of Clifton told Radio Jamaica News on Thursday that civil servants, to include members of the security forces and teachers, were among the people affected by the demolition exercise. 

She said they chose to build on the land because it is what they could afford.