JIS News

Dean Peart, Minister of Land and Environment, has said that the government will be seeking to identify issues relating to squatting and to establish a framework of guidelines to deal with this on-going problem.
Minister Peart, who was making his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on June 21, pointed out that squatting was often the result of large developments proceeding without simultaneous housing solutions for the low and middle income earners, who will work in those areas.
“We know that there are many developments to take place on the north coast.so we need to seize the opportunity to develop accompanying low and middle income housing solutions to prevent squatting in these areas,” he stressed.
Minister Peart further expressed a willingness to meet with his colleagues in other agencies and ministries, “to engage in discussions as to how to create parallel housing solutions alongside these new developments.” He noted, however, that existing squatter settlements must be dealt with.
The Land and Environment Minister stated, that every landowner had a responsibility to police his own property, as government “cannot be everybody’s policeman in this regard”. Nonetheless, he said that the Squatter Management Unit of the National Land Agency had a mandate to manage squatting and to put renewed focus on managing informal settlements.
Stating that squatter management was truly a complex subject, Minister Peart said it would require the formulation of a policy that would deal with proper policing, planning and resource allocation, to address the problem.
The terms of reference for a Squatter Management Steering Committee has been established to give general guidance to the policy formulation process, while a project proposal aimed at seeking funding for hiring a consultant, has been prepared and submitted to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
Minister Peart informed that already, discussions have been held with the PIOJ and the World Bank, regarding funding possibilities.