Residents fight off eviction

October 14, 2016
Police tried to calm angry residents on Red Hills Road while trying to serve an eviction notice.
The police and this bulldozer were present at 85 Red Hills Road yesterday to serve an eviction notice, but residents stood their ground.

When a backhoe turned its head towards a building on 85 Red Hills Road to bulldoze the favela-like homes there, Shanna-Kay Gordon and her neighbours stood arms in arms, ready to give their lives for a property that they do not own, but one which they have called home for years.

"Mi granny cut mi navel string right here suh, mi never go a nuh hospital," she told THE WEEKEND STAR. "It is not possible to get somewhere to live in two weeks. Check the number of residents who live here. It is not possible for all the residents to find somewhere to live in two weeks," she murmured.

According to Gordon, her 80-year-old grandmother was also born at the address and many other residents share similar stories.

Yesterday, the St Andrew North Police Division were scheduled to execute an eviction notice that would have dislocated around 35 residents.


"What really happen is that there was a court order to evict these persons on the premises. The tractor came and when it was about to do the eviction of about 35 residents, persons put their bodies in front of the tractor," Deputy Superintendent Alfred Bennett said.

"I was told that they were informed [about the eviction] in 2014, a month ago, two weeks from today, and even yesterday."

A 70-year-old resident, Vincent Watson, who said he was born and raised at the mentioned address, walked feebly among the angry crowd saying he had made several attempts to claim the land, but he was turned down by the authorities.

"Dem nah give we nuh chance. Dem nah deal wid the people dem. Dem go for it and the people seh dem nah sell it," Watson said.

The Limitation of Actions Act states that the doctrine of adverse possession allows a person who is in possession of land to obtain good title if the proper owner fails to assert his superior title within the limitation period set out in the act which is 12 years.

The National Land Agency of Jamaica listed The Waltham Land Purchase Housing Co-operative Society Limited as the owner of 85 Red Hills Road.

When THE WEEKEND STAR arrived at the scene about mid-morning yesterday, a group of the residents stood defiantly in front of the shops, some mounting table tops, while others hurled expletives at the backhoe operator.

"Don't follow them and commit murder," one resident shouted.

The scene got extremely rowdy when a stone thrown from the crowd smashed the windshield of the backhoe.

"Being that there is so much resistance and the people are complaining that they didn't get enough time, we are standing down the operation," Bennett said.

The senior cop advised the residents to employ an attorney and take the matter to court.

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