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July 13, 2012
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Squatting on lands

A St Ann resident says that too many idle lands are in Jamaica and that is the reason people have been squatting on some of them.

The man says he is sympathetic to the squatters, because some of them cannot afford to buy lands to build houses to live on because of financial hardships.

He said he knew of several acres of land in his area which have been abandoned by the owners, and saw nothing wrong if someone occupied the land and tried to make a living .

He said he heard recently on the news that steps were going to be taken to pass laws to prohibit squatting.

"I know many squatters, including my father, and it was when he could not pay the rent after he lost his job at a hotel that he captured a piece of land and built a board house," the St Ann resident explained.

"Several other persons were living on the land and I went to live on the land with my father when I was six years old. I am now 25 and we have never seen the owner or anyone connected to the owner come on the property to make enquiries about the land.

"My opinion is that the government does not have to pass a law to stop squatting, because if people are interested in their lands or properties, then people would not have the time to take them over and build houses on them.

"One of my friends and his relatives live abroad and they have a five-acre property. When they were going abroad to live, they left someone to oversee the property for them. They did not just abandon the property and go away.

"Things are very rough in Jamaica for many people. Some can hardly find food and money to send their children to school.

"It is my view that the government should help those people who have been squatting on lands for many years to get titles for those properties," he added.

The law states that a person can apply for a title under adverse possession once he can show that he has been living on private property, uninterrupted and unchallenged for more than at least 12 years.


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