The Government will, this year, provide more than 2,000 housing solutions to residents across the island, in an effort to regularise existing squatter communities.
This was announced by Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy on Tuesday, May 21, during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
Dr. Guy informed that among the plans for this fiscal year, is the provision of 24 housing solutions at a cost of $7.5 million on some two hectares of land in Esher, St. Mary.
Additionally, plans are in place to provide 33 housing solutions for residents at 16 Job Lane in Spanish Town, St. Catherine.
The Government is also working to upgrade the infrastructure at Galleon Beach Settlement in St. Elizabeth and at 21 August Town Road, St. Andrew, which will result in a total of 294 solutions.
He further informed that Cabinet has recently given approval for the compulsory acquisition of land in Leith Hall in St. Thomas for the regularisation of over 2,000 households as well as the approval to acquire lots in Hanna Town in an effort to provide titles in the subdivision for longstanding residents.
In the meantime, Dr. Guy said the Ministry will complete the implementation of infrastructure works to develop existing informal settlements that have been placed under the Local Improvements (Community Amenities) Act (LICA).
He said to bolster the Government’s drive towards regularisation there will be a phased expansion and operationalisation of the Squatter Management Unit. This will facilitate more direct involvement in the prevention of new squatting and the containment of existing settlements.
“Regional offices of the Housing portfolio of the Ministry will be utilised to house officers, who will have direct responsibility to monitor Ministry-owned lands,” he stated.
The officers are expected to collaborate with other custodians of state lands to manage the issue of squatting, he said.
The Minister presentation was entitled: ‘Laying the Foundation… Providing the Solutions… Preparing for the Future….’
Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker