JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has said that the Squatter Management Unit was not established to take over the work of Operation Pride nor is a “universal policeman”.
“Our emphasis has been on co-ordination, containment and prevention through public education and monitoring. The unit does not absolve landowners, public or private, from securing their properties,” said Mr. Clarke during his contribution to the 2007/08 Budget debate yesterday (April 18) in the House of Representatives. The Squatter Management Unit was launched last June with the challenge of developing strategies/policies to arrest the proliferation of illegal settlements island-wide.
Since its establishment, the unit has been able to create a sustained public education programme featuring printed materials, radio and television; a toll free hotline has been set up with wide usage by the public; and there has been advanced work on the regularisation of at least three squatter settlements.
Other achievements include the provision of advice to a number of private land owners and government entities on squatter management issues; 10 eviction exercises conducted on crown lands with another nine to be undertaken shortly, and the unit is executing work on a comprehensive squatter management policy after securing funding from the World Bank.