Squatting farmer refuses to move


May 13, 2016
Farmer cuts callaloo stalks.

A farmer who has been a squatter on a property in St James for several years is now being threatened with eviction notice.

He said the original owner knew he was living and working on the land, and did not stop him.

The owner died in January, and he says since that time he has had no peace because one of the owner's son is threatening to remove him from the property.

"Last month, the owner's son turned up with some men and served me with a notice to get off the property by July 31," he said.

"I told him I was not getting off because his father knew I was occupying a section of the land and he never objected to me being on the land. The son said he was not like my father and I should just leave peacefully. He said his father had willed the property to him and he was in the process of selling it.

"He called me a squatter and said the new owner does not want any squatter on the land. We had a quarrel and the man even pointed his hand in my face. I did not want to put myself in any trouble, so I walked way."

" I have been living on the property for 11 years now and I have never seen the son come on to the property. It is now that his father has died that he comes to make trouble with me and is ordering me to pull down my board house and stop farming on the land.

"I even told a policeman about the matter, but he told me it was a civil matter, so I must take the matter to the civil court to see if I have any right to the property.

"Some of the residents in the community say I have been on the land for such a long time and I should not leave. They said I should not allow him to just come and throw me off the property because I am not a wrongdoer.

"I spoke to a justice of the peace in the area and he said I must find somewhere else to live and do my farming because I do not have a title for the land. I just think the justice of the peace is a friend of the man who is trying to get me off the land.

"Do squatters have rights and is there anything I can do to claim this land?" he queried.

Squatters do have rights, but there is a specified time in law before a squatter can make a claim by means of adverse possession for a title to a property. The Registration of Titles Act states that a person can apply for a title to a private property if the person has been living undisturbed for more than 12 years. You said in your case you have been on the property for 11 years, therefore you would not qualify under the law to apply for a title for ownership to the property.

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