JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Thirty-four serviced lots are to be developed in Hatfield, Westmoreland, this year under the Squatter Upgrading Programme.
  • The $15 million project is part of infrastructural work being undertaken by the Government to develop and regularise existing informal settlements.
  • Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, in his Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on April 28, said the management of informal settlements remains a high priority for the Government.

Thirty-four serviced lots are to be developed in Hatfield, Westmoreland, this year under the Squatter Upgrading Programme.

The $15 million project is part of infrastructural work being undertaken by the Government to develop and regularise existing informal settlements.

Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, in his Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on April 28, said the management of informal settlements remains a high priority for the Government.

“As such, we continue to develop and improve policies, which will assist in regularising squatter communities,” he noted.

He reported that the Secondary Analytical Research on Squatting has been completed and a Cabinet Note will be submitted within the first quarter of this financial year.

Minister Guy informed that monitoring activities are also being boosted through

increased staffing at regional offices, while the Ministry has partnered with various Agencies and Ministries to combat this persistent problem.  These include the National Land Agency (NLA), Urban Development Corporation (UDC), National Water Commission (NWC), Parish Councils, among others.

Dr. Guy said that moving forward, the Ministry will continue the development of a typology of squatting islandwide. He informed that eight parishes have already been identified for this exercise, and fieldwork will commence this year.

In addition, a squatter census will be conducted to provide accurate demographics on squatting locally. A pilot of this activity was conducted in February in Clarendon, and is intended to guide the approach in other parishes.

Minister Guy told the House that the Government is receiving valuable assistance in addressing the problem of informal settlements under the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP).

The initiative, being undertaken by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat), through funding from the European Commission, will see several strategies being implemented locally to tackle the issue.

Phase I of the project was undertaken in the urban centres of Montego Bay, St. James; May Pen, Clarendon and Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine.

Since September 2014, the Ministry has embarked on the implementation of Phase II of the PSUP, which will see the preparation of six outputs including: a Citywide Situational Analysis Report; a Policy and Regulatory Review Report; report on the Adaptation of the International Guidelines on Decentralisation and Access to Basic Services for all; a Citywide Slum Upgrading Strategy Report; a Resource Mobilisation Report and development of project Concept Notes.

Additionally, a midterm evaluation was conducted by the European Commission in March 2015 to assess the progress made by Jamaica with regard to the implementation of the programme.

“It should be noted that the process is about participatory action planning, which sees the stakeholders at the local level making a determination on the project outcome they visualise for their communities.  The methodology is of such that it will serve as a blueprint for the upgrading of informal settlements throughout Jamaica,” Minister Guy told the House.

Last year, the Ministry, in conjunction with its Agencies, and civil society, completed and submitted Jamaica’s National Habitat Country Report to the UN, which focuses on housing and sustainable urban development.