South St Catherine MP, the PNP’s Fitz Jackson, is denying that a conflict exists between lands leased by joint venture company Celestial Farms of which he is a director and his stated opposition to the use of agricultural lands in Bernard Lodge for housing and commercial activities.

Mr. Jackson says his opposition to the use of large portions of the Bernard Lodge farmlands for housing and commercial development dates back three years ago when the Government’s intention became known.

Mr. Jackson says he sought and obtained the required exemptions from Parliament and he sought to ensure that all the transactions were above board.

He came under fire last week when Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, revealed that a company Mr. Jackson has a stake in leased farmland in Bernard Lodge.

However, Mr. Jackson says his view is in keeping with opinions from senior planners, water resource experts, including the former Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jackson is also rejecting suggestions that he fears the Bernard Lodge project would affect the electoral makeup of his South St. Catherine Constituency.

Fitz Jackson, Member of Parliament for South St. Catherine.

Meanwhile, a farmer in the Bernard Lodge area, Derrick Taylor, says he’s happy to hear his livelihood will not be threatened by the planned development.

He says he’s been informed that the land he occupies will remain in agriculture.

However, South St. Catherine MP, Fitz Jackson says all the Bernard Lodge lands should be reserved for agricultural use only.

Fitz Jackson, Member of Parliament for South St. Catherine.