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PM promises new structures for Central Kingston residents whose houses were destroyed by fire

Prime Minister Andrew Holness
 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has promised residents whose houses were destroyed by a fire on Monday in Central Kingston, that as soon as land ownership is established he will build new structures.
 
Responding to questions posed by residents of James Street and Smith Lane during a tour of the community on Tuesday, Mr. Holness said the government has to respect property rights, even if the owner has no interest in the property. 
 
However, he noted that the government has "some powers in law to acquire property for a public purpose" so it would engage the property owners in an attempt to do so. 
 
He said the government was intent on acquiring all the available property it could in an effort to "regenerate these areas for the people who are living here". 
 
But he suggested the process would still require the cooperation of the residents as well as "some amount of social work". 
 
At least 30 people, including children, are now homeless following the blaze.
 
The residents are insisting that their houses were firebombed by hoodlums amid ongoing gang violence in the community.
 
But the police say they have found no evidence to suggest the fire was started by arsonists.
 
 


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