STATEMENT BY HON. DR. HORACE CHANG, M.P. MINISTER OF WATER AND HOUSING RE DEMOLITION OF HOUSES IN COLOUDEN, WESTMORELAND


The demolition of six houses in Colouden, Westmoreland yesterday, (Friday, April 17, 2009) is unfortunate. However, I am presently in dialogue with Member of Parliament, Mr. Luther Buchanan to ensure adequate resettlement of the families. This resettlement will include assistance with building materials.
Since 2007 hundreds of persons living in informal settlements have been relocated to areas with proper infrastructure. Additionally, we are now in the process of formalising the tenure of another several thousand informal settlers. Demolition only becomes necessary when all other efforts fail.
The officers of the Ministry acted legitimately and within the policy framework of the Ministry as the persons who occupied the property for over eight years had been served several removal notices which they ignored. The problem became severe, however, when they began to rent house spots on the property to which they had no legal claim.
I do believe that public servants must be given the authority to carry out their responsibility as designated under the law without fear of retribution.
The Ministry of Water and Housing will continue to provide an opportunity to bring all informal setters into the formal sector, all we ask is for your continued co-operation. Where co-operation and dialogue fail, the Ministry must be decisive.

JIS Social