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JIS News

The Trelawny Parish Council, with the assistance of the Police, is moving decisively to put a stop to squatting in the parish, a situation seen as a growing problem in some areas.
With several major developments now taking place and others slated to be implemented soon, concerns are being raised about the number of squatter settlements popping up in different parts of the parish.
Plans were announced Thursday (June 10), during the monthly meeting of the Parish Council, for the formation of an Action Committee, to look specifically at ways to deal with the squatting problem.
The committee is to be made up of representatives from several organizations, including the Parish Council, the Police, Health Department and Fire Brigade, as well as organizations such as the Jamaica Baptist Union and the Jamaica Civil Service Association that have land holdings in the parish.
The inaugural meeting of the Action Committee is slated to take place on Wednesday, June 16, at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, the temporary location for the Trelawny Police headquarters.
Police Superintendent in charge of the parish, Lynette Williams-Martin, in a presentation at the Council meeting, however, disclosed that there has been a decrease in crimes committed in the parish, except in the areas of rapes and shootings. She said that 13 murders have occurred since the start of the year, as against 17 during the same period last year.
The Superintendent linked the crime situation in the parish to the increase in squatter settlements, adding that a number of wanted men from outside the parish have been captured there, recently. She made an appeal for residents to cooperate with the police, by notifying them about any unusual happenings, while also urging them to be alert and aware of what is happening in their communities.
Mayor of Falmouth and Chairman of the Trelawny Parish Council, Councillor Collin Gager, told JIS News that the formation of the Action Committee has been long overdue.
“We think that this is long overdue, because we have been having an influx of people from other areas who come into different areas and start buildings, and the police have expressed some concern about this,” he stated.
He added that apart from security challenges, the squatter settlements also pose health risks.
Stating that it is the wish of the administrators within the Parish Council that villages in the parish are organised to fit into its developments plans, Mayor Gager added that all aspects of squatting will be tackled by the Action Committee, from encroachments on the side of the road to construction of dwelling houses.
“We want to have an organised community and an organised parish”, he said.