By CELESTE NIXON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE former government was unable to grasp the true value of Urban Renewal according to Prime Minister Perry Christie.
Speaking to the press yesterday, Mr Christie criticised the FNM government for “dismantling” the programme – and claimed former Prime Minister Mr Ingraham did not understand the concept behind it.
He said: “I think he has always been uninformed, really and truly uninformed, about what Urban Renewal is actually all about. He purports to represent an era when he had responsibility for housing but I don’t think he truly understands the significance of the Urban Renewal effort.
“That is community policing at it’s highest and at it’s best; to criticise it and to take the action that the FNM took in the past is uninformed and I think counterproductive to the best interests of our country, they were wrong in dismantling what we had in place.
Mr Ingraham criticised Urban Renewal 2.0 following the tendering his resignation letter at Parliament last week.
He suggested the government is carrying out an unlawful act by clearing derelict, abandoned houses and properties in the inner city without first giving home and property owners due notice.
“Aren’t there laws that govern this?” the former Prime Minister asked. “You must give the occupier notice, you must give the owner notice, and they must have the opportunity to make representation. You cannot just go and do so (tear down a house). That’s what distinguishes a democracy from a totalitarian society,” he said.
“The reality is there are laws and there are rules that you ought to abide by and the government ought to set the example.”
Mr Ingraham also insisted that the public must be notified by police officials when a police officer is involved in shooting and killing a suspect.
“We have a high crime problem in society, but what we cannot do is permit policemen to act outside the law,” said Mr Ingraham.
“It cannot be that you shoot two armed robbers or crooks one night and you tell me nothing about it.”
Explaining the programme, Mr Christie said Urban Renewal is a police-driven campaign with the objective of gaining the trust and confidence of the public, so that community challenges can be identified and addressed by the government.
“Urban Renewal is where we are going into communities with the mandate to go to every house and discover what the challenges are then to take the information we have found and inform the relevant agencies of the government, so that the government’s policies can be relevant to what exists in the community – that is the basis of it,” said Mr Christie.
“We are slowly introducing our programmes to fight crime and the fear crime – watch what happens,” he said. “You will see a shift in the mind-set of people, a shift in the confidence coming into communities and you will see the results being different in terms of crime.