IT MATTERS TO MARIA: The wrong road?
Can Government take up private land without the knowledge and consent of the landowner?
That is the question that has been haunting Bradley Gibson after he discovered the state had demolished trees and cut a road through a portion of his land at Pounders Road, St Philip.
The young man said he discovered this last year when he went to check on the property his father left for him after he passed away.
“I went to check on my spot of land and I saw a road was being cut through my land to make an extension for the road. I went to MTW [Ministry of Transport and Works] and asked a question how come nobody ain’t notify me that my land was being used. They said that my land was not in the system.”
Gibson immediately went to the Land Tax Department, after which he sent off letters to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Attorney General last August, enquiring why Government had utilised a portion of his land without his consent.
“I received a response from the Prime Minister’s Office telling me to take up the matter with National Housing [Corporation], but every time I go there to ask a question, they telling me that ain’t no matter for me and they don’t have to talk to me,” he lamented.
As a result, Gibson said his lawyer also wrote the NHC, but got no response to her letters.
“She told me that she also called and spoke to an official there but the person told her they were busy.
“I went to the Ministry of Transport and Works and they told me that I have to go to the Six Roads depot. When I get up there, I found out that they are sinking a well on my land and they tell me I have to go to NHC concerning the land.”
An upset Gibson said he was frustrated with being turned around so many times.
He said residents in the area knew his father owned the land and MTW could have asked a question if they could not find the landowner.
“I went back up there and this thing bigger than how it was,” he cried. “I getting push back all the time, so right now I am in a pickle because this is an election year and I don’t want to be used as a pawn for nobody to make a political statement. All I want is the land that I have to fight to pay the land tax for every year.
“I going through the legal steps and nobody ain’t paying me no mind. I went to the highest person in the land. I may not be able to use it, but I have a son and the same way my dad left it for me, I could leave it for him,” Gibson said.
When we visited Pounders Gap last week, a supervisor on the job explained that the land which they had utilised was where a natural watercourse was located.
“The thing with this property is that this is a natural water course so even Town Planning is not going to allow him to build anything in this
watercourse,” the man said.
He said rainwater “from all over St Philip” flowed through the land and flooded out houses around the area.
“We are going to clean out this area and make it a catchment basin for the water and also put in wells in the area. We were contemplating putting wells on his land in the event we get an excess amount of rainfall, but the wells would be on the road reserve and not his property,” the supervisor explained.
Pointing to an area opposite the land, he added that a tunnel would be installed there to channel out the water.
“So while you driving on top, the tunnel will be underground.”
The supervisor recalled speaking to Gibson but said he only enquired if the road was being cut through his land.
“I told him that we are really not interfering with his land; that this section of the road has a natural curve.”
A resident in the area said this was over 50 years they have been crying out for a proper road.
“The ministry came four years ago and started work and then they stopped, and now they have come back and we are happy to finally get a road,” the elderly woman said. (MB)