PNP says Gov’t reneged on consultation re Bernard Lodge development

Fitz Jackson

Member of Parliament for South St Catherine Fitz Jackson is accusing the Government of backing down on assurances it gave stakeholders that wide consultation would have been held ahead of any approval of the revised Bernard Lodge Master Plan.

Jackson said that Cabinet’s approval of the Master Plan flies in the face of trust and good governance.

His comment comes ahead of a press conference set for Friday (Feb 14) in which Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz will announce the approval and give details of the pending Bernard Lodge development.

Jackson said thousands of residents in St Catherine, who will be affected by the development, are still awaiting the promised opportunity for their voices to be heard. The initial proposal—which was announced by the Prime Minister at Jamaica House over a year ago—gave the assurance that further consultations would take place with the stakeholders ahead of a final decision.

“A hastily convened meeting with the Dunbeholden community was slated to be held 19 hours before the scheduled announcement of the Prime Minister, and a community meeting was set up in Clifton District, where a regularization exercise of their tenure has been in progress for some time. These could not be seen as wide stakeholder consultation by any stretch of the imagination,” Jackson said.

Additionally, he said that the broader Portmore community that will be significantly affected by the scale of the proposed Bernard Lodge development has not been consulted.