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Anglican church alarmed at decision to 'seize' land

Posted on: August 22, 2011 10:57 AM


The Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands is expressing alarm at what they say is the intention of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to 'confiscate' Nuttall Hospital land.

In a press release issued today, the Diocese said that recent statements by Joy Douglas, general manager of UDC at a meeting with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, were 'troubling' and needed 'clarification'.

"In a speech delivered by Ms. Joy Douglas, General Manager of the Urban Development Corporation, at a meeting with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, in speaking of plans for the development of the Up Park Camp lands, stated that "operators of the Nuttall Memorial Hospital should also be aware that the UDC is also interested in the land on which it sits."

Neither the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands nor the Nuttall Hospital Trust, which falls under the ambit of the Diocese, has been in any negotiation with the UDC concerning such a development. In the world of corporate business such unilateral announcements are regarded as "hostile," the statement said.

The religious group also said it found equally alarming that there are plans by the Prime Minister to amend the UDC Act "that will do away with a clause that forces the Corporation to acquire land before engaging in redevelopment activities".

"This latter disclosure must be a matter of concern to all Jamaicans who own property. Land ownership has been of far more than symbolic value to our people in the history of this country, and for the Government of our nation, the largest landowner, to be proposing changing the laws which have guaranteed the right of citizens and institutions, in order to confiscate property, supposedly for the purpose of re-development, is not only unacceptable but in violation of our Constitution," the statement said.

Nuttall Memorial Hospital was built in 1923 by the Anglican Diocese of Jamaica. It was named in honour of the Most Revd. Enos Nuttall, Archbishop of the West Indies 1893 – 1916.