JIS News

The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing is putting measures in place to address the problem of illegal land occupation throughout the country.

It is estimated that there are over 700 residential squatter settlements islandwide with more than 100,000 households, with an average of four to five persons per household.

Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, in his presentation in the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 21, informed that the Squatter Management Unit is being strengthened to effectively deal with the issue.

Focus is also being placed on policy development, and a National Squatter Management Policy Concept Paper has been drafted with input from relevant agencies as well as civil society.

Additionally, Dr. Guy said, “the squatter unit has just moved to obtain approval for the outsourcing of a comprehensive analytical research to inform squatter management policy measures.”

Once the research is completed, further consultancy will be sought to develop the policy and an implementation plan.

A new Trespass Act is also being developed to modernise the existing legislation, “which has been around for some 175 years,” Dr. Guy informed.

According to the Minister, the issue of squatting does not only confront the Government, but is also a problem affecting private sector entities and landowners.

He informed that several landowners and managers have been implementing mechanisms to reduce illegal occupation of their property and at least one player in the bauxite industry has signalled its intention to establish its own squatter management unit.

Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker