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  • The design phase of a national geo-database on squatting has been completed as the Government continues its work to address the issue of illegal land occupation across the country.
  • “The geo-database, which is projected to be in use later this year, will have features that can produce data on location, settlement history, land size, ownership, demographics, social and physical information, and environmental impact,” Dr. Guy informed.
  • He noted that for this fiscal year, the Unit will be targeting over 40 settlements in St. James, Trelawny, St. Mary, and St. Ann.

The design phase of a national geo-database on squatting has been completed as the Government continues its work to address the issue of illegal land occupation across the country.

The development of this database will assist the Squatter Management Unit in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing to be better able to identify, monitor, and contain incidents of squatting in a more practical manner.

This was revealed by Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, in his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Wednesday, June 4.

“The geo-database, which is projected to be in use later this year, will have features that can produce data on location, settlement history, land size, ownership, demographics, social and physical information, and environmental impact,” Dr. Guy informed.

In the meantime, he noted that the Squatter Management Unit is moving to classify informal settlements to better determine the best approach with regard to monitoring.

“Site visits have been conducted in over 25 settlements across the parishes of Hanover, Kingston, St. Andrew, Westmoreland, St. Thomas and Trelawny. Classification will be done on a three-tiered model based on, among other things, proximity to physical features, the presence of infrastructure, planning and zoning violations and the degree of social organisation,” he outlined.

He noted that for this fiscal year, the Unit will be targeting over 40 settlements in St. James, Trelawny, St. Mary, and St. Ann.

Dr. Guy further informed that the Unit has collaborated with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to establish a steering committee on slope stability in communities in St. Andrew and Portland.

“Through these efforts, several informal settlers have become regularised. Plans are afoot to bolster the work of the Unit by assigning at least one monitoring officer at each of the Ministry’s regional offices in St. Ann, St. James, Westmoreland and Clarendon,” he explained.