JIS News

A motion calling for the enactment of legislation to criminalise squatting was tabled in the Senate on November 12 by Government Senator, Dennis Meadows.
The motion also recommended that the government pursue, in addition to current policies, aggressive and progressive housing and social policies aimed at facilitating affordable housing solutions for its citizenry.
“The pervasive problem of squatting has reached epidemic proportions, adversely impacting the socio economic fabric of the society, resulting in crimes and other anti- social behaviour,” Mr. Meadows said.
Approximately one million persons presently live in 700 squatter settlements across the island, representing one in three Jamaicans living on lands “which they do not own and have no legal tenure,” he pointed out.
“The causes and consequences that often attend these informal settlements are well known, not least being economic hardships, urban migration, tacit political support, and the absence of social infrastructure, such as schools or health care facilities,” Senator Meadows said.
He argued that the problem of squatting is now so pervasive, that it is beyond the capacity of the local authority to police it under the existing provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947, resulting in widespread unplanned and unsafe settlements.

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