As part of Government’s efforts to address the issues of informal housing developments, Jamaica has signed on to Phase II of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP).
The PSUP is a regional project of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) initiated in collaboration with the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Community.
It aims to build capacities at the local and national levels to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in ACP countries through slum upgrading policy development and the implementation of pilot projects.
Speaking during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 21, Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, said Jamaica is one of five Caribbean countries involved in the project.
Dr. Guy informed that the programme is being implemented in the areas of Montego Bay, St. James; May Pen, Clarendon; and Old Harbour/Old Harbour Bay in St. Catherine.
He said Phase I of the programme, which entailed the rapid profiling of the towns/cities has been completed, while Phase II will see the undertaking of a number of feasibility studies in the priority informal settlements identified during the first phase.
“This is aimed at addressing sustainable slum upgrading issues such as governance, social and economic development and environmental health,” he stated.
Dr. Guy noted that the Ministry continues to explore every available option to address the issues pertaining to informal housing developments.
It is estimated that there are more than 700 residential squatter settlements islandwide with more than 100,000 households with an average of four to five persons per household.
In the meantime, Dr. Guy informed that as part of its ongoing efforts, the Ministry of Housing, last year, conducted four socio-economic surveys covering some 693 persons in 263 communities.
These included premises at 51 Manning’s Hill Road, St. Andrew; Barrett Town, St. James; Port Royal and 54 Lyndhurst Road in Kingston.
Minister Guy informed that as a result of the surveys, the Government will be in a better position to determine the way forward in terms of the divestment of properties owned by the Ministry of Housing; the relocation and regularisation of squatters; the transfer of properties to the Ministry of Housing, as well as housing and financial assistance for persons displaced as a result of man-made and natural disasters.
Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker