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The Portmore municipal council has agreed to address with urgency, the growing practice of persons setting up informal businesses along the main roadway in Caymanas Gardens in Gregory Park, St. Catherine. Councillor Camille Buchanan of the Gregory Park Division, who raised the motion, which was adopted at a recent meeting of the municipal council, said that persons have been placing containers along the roadway from which they operated businesses. She said that because the development was informal, the council could not collect fees from the operators. “It is government land but these entrepreneurs see it as a prime location and without permission, have squatted on the land,” she said.
Councillor Buchanan pointed out that some of these micro and small businesspersons have been operating from the location for several years, and the aim was not to forcibly remove them, but to instead formalize the arrangement, creating a structured business zone and collecting the requisite fees.
“I don’t want the council to go and box bread out of the mouths of these enterprising entrepreneurs so if they are going to be there, they have to pay to be there, and certain standards have to be set by the council, which are rigidly maintained,” she said.
She pointed out further, that these businesses serve the surrounding community. “What we must do as a council is set standards, eliminating the desire to set up shacks and let those who desire to continue their business operations there, pay to do so,” she added.
Councillor Buchanan suggested that in formalizing the settlement, first priority should be given to those who now occupy the land and others added thereafter. She noted that the measure would bring in much needed revenue for the council, which could be used to underwrite several projects that the council was slated to undertake.