Plans to regularise squatter settlements

November 24, 2016
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Delroy Williams participate in the local government electon debate held at the Creative Production & Training Centre Ltd (CPTC) in Kingston last night.
People's National Party team members, (from left) Scean Branswell, Venecia Phillips and Eugene Kelly.

If you are a squatter living in an informal community, you may not need to be rush to find somewhere else to go.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) last night promised to embark on a programme to regularise squatter communities.

"It is our intention to make sure that they have the amenities that are necessary for good living. As far as those are concerned, we can't be moving them. We will need to make sure that the facilities that they enjoy are adequate," the JLP's Milton Brown said last night.

Brown, who served as mayor of May Pen between 2003 and 2012, was speaking during the Local Government Debates held at the Creative Production and Training Centre Ltd in Kingston.

Jamaicans will vote in Local Government elections on November 28.

In 2008, then housing minister Dr Horace Chang said that about 30 per cent of the population lived in informal settlements or had no security of tenure.

He said while the Government would be taking a hard line to stop squatting, it would also formalise some settlements and change the law to make the issuing of titles easier.

Last night, Brown said that where persons are now seeking to establish squatter settlements, the parish councils should seek to dissuade them while relying on enforcement to "ensure that the squatting does not take over the entire country"."Squatting takes place where there is development and the Jamaica Labour Party will make sure that where there is development taking place that we make preparation to ensure that persons are adequately housed in these areas and they don't have to end up squatting," Brown said.

Scean Barnswell of the People's National Party said that there are several programmes that are being implemented to improve the infrastructure in squatter communities.

Those programmes, he said, include giving titles to persons who do not legally own lands.

"If you are living on an informal settlement, don't be afraid. Under this People's National Party-led council we will ensure that you get your title for that place you are living because you want to show this level of ownership, we want to empower you so that you will be able to care for yourself, your family and make a brighter day for yourself," Barnswell said.

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