Squatter Crisis

April 16th, 2009

In parliament on Wednesday it was revealed that close to one million Jamaicans are living in squatter settlements across the island. Concerns have been raised about the sum allocated to deal with squatter management as it is not beleived to be enough to tackle such a large problem.

Read article here:

http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090416/lead/lead7.html

Is the government taking the right approach to dealing with this problem? What should the government do? Why are squatter communities continuing to increase?  Why are so many Jamaicans getting away with the practise? Have you say…


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23 Responses to “Squatter Crisis”

  1. Patrick says:

    When Paul Bogle brought the same problem to the then governor of Jamaica in 1865 all the people got was a brutal police force which has continue in the same light it was started in the 19th. century. It took over 100 years for one Michael Manley to try to reallocate lands which is only half successful to date because the majority of the persons who benefited from land lease died and did not receive a title. Their children or strangers now occupy those lands at no cost. As i said to Michael Sharp at the Your Issues Live – Not until the government can collect from 85 – 95% of property tax we the PAYE – easy to collect from – are doomed.

  2. everton says:

    After the manleys era both political party put the inner city communites on the back burners.To reduce the squating the goverment of the day have to build housing so that even the people that earned minimum wages can have a place to lay their head when they get home from work. Build apartment like buildings, charge cheap rent,Put in strick regulation on the occupant.Each occupant have to show their income,Then the housing authority can calculate what percantage of their monthly income towards the rent.Certified them yearly, if the income decreas or increase then the rent must be adjust.The man who sell mangoes ,broom,newspaper,honest living should have a decent place to lay their head.

  3. Bob says:

    EVERTON:

    YOU ARE ONE SMART COOKIE . I MIGHT HAVE TO FIND SOME THING ELSE TO DO.LOL I SECOND THAT AND I MIGHT AD ON SOMETHING TO THAT TOO. THERE WILL BE SECURITY THERE WILL ALSO BE A GATE EVERY BODY HAVE TO GO THROUGH AND ALSO A METAL DETECTOR. SO NO GUNS GO IN THERE. AND ALSO NO DRUG DEALING THERE TOO. ANY BODY GET CAUGHT TRYING TO TAKE IN A GUN OR DEALING DOPE THERE THEM AND THEIR ENTIRE FAMILY SHOULD BE EVICTED.

  4. Mer says:

    The government is afraid of squatters. The truth is that squatters’ votes keep them in power and the government knows that a harsh stance will perhaps ignite the fury of these people and so they cowardly refuse to deal with the issue.

  5. I think the answer long term has to be better education for the squatters. Squatters are not the root cause of the problem but rather a result of poor resource management by the elected and the hopelessness of the homeless.

    As a nation we cannot build a stable and livable economy by allowing the infrastructure to decay the way it is due to the absolutely unacceptable crime rate in some of these areas. The cause of squatting in Jamaica is homelessness. The government and privet sector should address this problem by building more affordable housing.

    I would also like to appeal to opposition political parties in Jamaica not to play politicking with such sensitive issues as land in Jamaica. I think that this JLP government should quickly move to redress the inequality in land distribution in Jamaica. This should be done openly and in a transparent manner. It will absolve this JLP government of any blame in the future.

    The “Maverick” UK

  6. The government does not has the financial means to solve the problem of squatters overnight but this JLP government need to prevent anymore land grabbing by squatters is understandable; but it must also embark on a policy to set aside land that can be legally owned by the landless in Jamaica. They do not have to build the houses for the people, just give them the land “with the title” and the means, and they will build their own houses.

    I think the answer long term has to be better education for the squatters. Squatters are not the root cause of the problem but rather a result of poor resource management by the elected and the hopelessness of the homeless. As a nation we cannot build a stable and livable economy by allowing the infrastructure to decay the way it is due to the absolutely unacceptable crime rate in some of these areas. The cause of squatting in Jamaica is homelessness. The government and privet sector should address this problem by building more affordable housing.

    I would also like to appeal to opposition political parties in Jamaica not to play politicking with such sensitive issues as land in Jamaica. I think that this JLP government should quickly move to redress the inequality in land distribution in Jamaica. This should be done openly and in a transparent manner. It will absolve this JLP government of any blame in the future.

    The “Maverick” UK

  7. Neutral Justice says:

    I sincerely think that some of the bloggers here think superficially before typing. Go to these displaced people, they are not homeless, nor squatters, Jamaica is their home, so they are not homeless. Squatters is an English classification that was thrown to the black slaves as they toiled and work without pay. 400 years without a red cent, building England and America, making the so called queen gathered wealth under the blood of our strong and majestic forefathers. It sure hurts so bad. We are still suffering, sometimes you have to question God, why?
    However the answer lies in the govt. opening 4 land offices in each parish sharing data on each applicants that deals directly with agriculture cultivation of food crops for the people and formal exportation. lets get going.

  8. Carlton says:

    Squatting is not only land grabbing.

    In many of the innercity Garrisons such as Majesty Gardens, Tivoli,Denham Town,Payne Land and Baldwin Crescent and Sherlock in Duhaney Park among others no rent or for that matter utility bills are paid for the Government provided housing.

    Indeed many living in the units are not the persons to whom they were initially allotted.
    In every sense of the word these people are squatters.

    Together with the land grabbers the aggregated group of “squatters” is the main reason why MPs feel the need to keep the “bollo Slush” CDF programme at its current levels – even in the face of the most severe economic crisis facing the country.

    The choice for them is simple. Do we pay teachers their contractual retro active payments or continue to buy “squatters” votes with the people of Jamaica tax dollars. The ayes to the latter in parliament is deafening.

    Carlton

  9. Ommugabe says:

    “Nearly a million Jamaicans on stolen land”

    “Stolen land”???
    What the hell is that ‘writer’ thinking?
    The lands belonged to the Native Jamaicans, the Tainos; and they were stolen by ethnic-cleansing European criminals.

    Africans were kidnapped from their abundant lands in Africa, and forced to labor for free in Ja.
    The African descendants ARE THEREFORE OWED much Jamaican lands.

    The Jamaican squatters ARE entitled to Jamaican lands. And since successive leaderships have refused to allocate them their Jamaican lands, then they are left with little choice but to squat on THEIR Ja lands!

    Jamaica’s Lands, Wealth, Resources & Opportunities have always been monopolized by a greed few of European descent.

    It is about time that the MAJORITY POPULATION wake up, recognize their true ownership, and claim their majority share of things Jamaican, including Jamaican lands!

  10. Gem says:

    I agree with what Everton said about the Government building houses and charging cheap rent. The rent could be paid by salary deduction. I don’t know how they would handle those who are self-employed.

    They would have to restrict the number of people who live in the units. I have seen low-income apartment complexes where people move in their extended family and friends, and before you know it the place is overcrowded and there is crime. It is not fair to the people who just wanted a decent place to live.

    Developers could also consider building rental units for middle-income people, instead of building more and more high cost townhouses which cannot be sold, as well as mega-supermarkets that end up going out of business. Again, salary deduction would ensure that the rent is paid. Well, as long as the tenant is employed.

  11. jay says:

    no one was born in the sky everyone must have some where to live its the government duty to provide housing since we all pay them our g.c.t

  12. Mister says:

    All these people in squatter camps need financial aid to assist them in getting educated and obtaining a trade skill, plus good money management and micro enterprise know-how, so they can get jobs or create employment for themselves and earn their way out of this predicament. It’s a national disgrace. Lifelong Learning Jamaica and HEART need to be a part of this solution.

    Black people came out of slavery how many centuries now, and as the majority population with the political power we still can’t implement policies and resources to effect the HUMAN DEVELOPMENT needed to transition from nothingness to wealth and resourcefulness? Our leaders have lead us into a perpetual cycle of indebtedness, backwardness and stagnation.

    At least the women started their feminist organisations to uplift themselves and they’re making strides. When shall the men start their version of gender programmes to inspire, educate, finance and uplift themselves? When are they gonna get busy with that instead of forming posses and murdering each other? That’s the question.

  13. madge says:

    I think it is time that the land grabbing in Jamaica history take on some urgent talks in government.The reason why some of us Jamaican are so irresponsible we stole land, water, and electric. There is lots of land in Jamaica that government can distribute to people who not able to buy land.How can this land grabing continue without grovernment do something and do it soon, then generation after generation even those who can buy land will not bother to do so they will just capture people/government land then once they moved in, then they stole water and electric.Then we wonder why there is so much problems in our lovely island the government need to build more affordable housing i know the government does not has the finanical means, and to solve the problem of housing for those people who is squtting is not a ovrnight thing but, the problem need to be address urgently.

  14. Kevin Forge says:

    What the Government needs to do to almost completely solve Squatting is fairly simple.

    Treat all land as merely rented from the Government. I.e. When you stop paying your property taxes it it can be sold to recover the taxes owed. Then we can even go so far as to sell liens against delinquent taxes.

    The 2nd part is to adjust the laws and the approach of law enforcement so that anyone can collect rent without needing to be or employ a gangster.

    When building low and middle income houses and apartments to rent becomes a wise long term investment the shortage of homes will disappear. Not before.

    Finally. We need to uplift the education standards so that starting a gang war in a garrison to drive a portion of it’s die-hard population into a nearby marginal constituency cannot be counted on to win you a seat. I.e. People can think and vote either way rather than seeing themselves as owned by a party no matter what. Even when thugs attached to that party drive them from their homes.

  15. Ommugabe says:

    Wasn’t there such a thing as ‘crown lands’ at so-called independence?

    If lands were turned over to the Ja govement at independence, then there should have been a land settlement back them to the majority population; because the longer land settlement is delayed while the population grows, the bigger the squatting headache to come.

    No doubt the ‘plan’ of the british was to keep the land only in the hands of european descendants; and so cause the majority population to be always dependent and poor, just like the darkest days of the enslavement.

  16. JamaicanAbroad says:

    The devil’s advocate in me is forcing me to say we need to take a close look at the announcement of the minister and the relatioin to the budget. Is it that we are saying we can not depend on property tax to help with our budget as we should? Is it a ploy to divert our concern from money that have been collected and not accounted for? We all knew that we have a lot of squatters. Why is it that its hot topic now. Why now?

  17. Tieso says:

    All squatters should be forcibly removed from their captured lands, and be made to fend for themselves. They have gotten to used to handouts from politicians and must be made to feel how the rest of us have to work hard to afford land make mortgage payments. Why should they be allowed to capture land and face no consequences?

  18. junior says:

    Its was very nice of the Canadian Prime Minister to praise the security forces, but deep down I know it was just to take shame out of Bruce Golding and Jamaica’s eyes. This just goes to show that they have no control over the security of our people in general. No wonder why these murders can roam the street as they wish. I don’t think he is crazy as they say.My belief is that as it goes in Jamaica, once you or your family is known you can get away with anything.What if he had killed someone? would we be singing the same song? What a shame. I love my country but whenever I think about it now it turns my stomach and make me want to throw up. Jamaica has gone to the dogs and all on account of these Politicians. What ever happen to the beach that was stolen, Sandals White House $40,000000 (US) over run? just to name a few. Has anyone ever been charged or even arrested. just to show a little about the once beautiful JAMAICA. May God help them.

  19. Bob says:

    TIESO:

    YOU TALKING LIKE YOU ARE DRUNK. YOU SHOULD KNOW AS MUCH AS I DO, THAT SOME TIMES THATS THE ONLY WAY ONE CAN ACCESS LAND AND TO HAVE SOME WHERE TO REST THEIR TIRED HEAD. YOU SHOULD BE MORE TO BE SAYING THAT THE GOVERNMENT , SHOULD START COLLECTING TAX FROM THESE PEOPLE AND IN THE MEAN TIME START THE PROCESS TO GIVE THEM TITLE FOR THE PLOTS THEY HAVE OR OCCUPIED.

    WHEN YOU FORCEFULLY REMOVE THEM WHAT NEXT ? WHERE DO YOU PROPOSED THEY GO “IN THE SEA? YOU KNOW . THIS IS WHY THE WORLD IS NOT GETTING ANY BETTER. BECAUSE WE BELIEVE WE SHOULD REMAIN ON TOP WHILE TROTTING ON THE ONES WHO ARE DOWN WHO ARE LESS FORTUNATE.

  20. Here in Barbados we had started government housing programmes for the poor since 1949 and all of those units are still in good conditions and some of the original tenants are still in them because we have a good maintenance programme and proper management . We have Estates Wardens who police all of the estates . We also have people squatting on private and government lands but the Ministry of Housing is dealing with the matter in order to provide dequate housing and land for them . The ministry of argriculture has also provided land for the landless farmers .
    The governments of Jamaica allowed the situation to get out-of-hand in order to get votes . The government must build housing estates for lower income earners and put programmes in place to managed and maintain them . Places like TrenchTown needs to be taken over by the government and removing the drugs dans and restoring law and order by deploying Joint-forces (police & soldiers). The criminal gangs are a menace to Jamaica , socio-economically . Corruption in high places must be gotten rid off .
    the problem of squatting cannot be dealt with in isolation but many social , economic and political problem must also be solved .
    Mans’ 3 basic needs are : food , clothing and shelter . People normally squat where there can get work and food , take a visit to Riverton city and see how poor people live because of the dump . Many jamaicans squat in areas where they make a living from selling and cultivating illegal drugs . St.James used to be one of my favourite places in Jamaica now I hear that the criminal gangs are running things there . I remember when $1.00 Ja was worth $1.25 U.S – now it is about $80.00 JA to $1.00 U.S .
    Jamaicans , at home and abroad , must make Jamaica sweet , again .

  21. Bob says:

    WIGGINS-BARBADOS:

    THERE IS 2 OTHER FORCES TO DEAL WITH IN JAMAICA . “THEY ARE CLASS WARFARE, AND INDIVIDUALISM. WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE . IF WE DONT GET THESE 2 THINGS TO WORL THEN NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO “JAMAICA STILL WONT GET ANY WHERE. BECAUSE IF YOU ARE COMING FROM A HARD DAYS WOEK FROM MANUAL LABOUR. AND YOUR CLOTHS LOOK SHABBY AND YOU MIGHT HAPPEN TO BE PASSING THROUGH SOME UPPER COMMUNITY. “JUST BY THE SENSE OF WALKING THROUGH THERE YOU R LIFE IN IN DANGER. BECAUSE YOU ARE LOOKED UP ON WITH SUSPECION AND YOU CAN BE KILLED . JUST FOR THE SIMPLE REASON OF THE STATE OF YOUR CLOTH.

    WE IN JAMAICA VALUE VANITY OVER OUR OWN BROTHERS AND SISTERS JAMAICANS. UNTIL WE ALL REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU HAVE IS JUST VANITY AND IT CAN BE GONE IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. WE SHOULD MAKE THE GREAT TOGETHERNESS AND LOVE AND CARE FOR EACH OTHER. IT WILL MAKE FOR A RICHER SOCIETY. WHERE EVERY BODY WILL BE RICH IN SPIRIT AND VALUES. ” EVEN OUT VANITY WILL BE INCREASED TOO. BECAUSE WE ALL WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RIGHT THINGS HAPPEN WHICH IN TURN COST LESS SO THERE WILL BE MORE MONEY TO GO AROUND AND THAT WILL GET ALL OF US RICHER.

  22. Natasha says:

    I am looking for a commercial lot to lease in Spanish Town. Brunswick ave, Old harbour Road or spanish town bypass preferbly. call me
    467-9896, thanks

  23. Andrea M Brown says:

    I have land in ocho rios! My half brother does not have any say on my property, he as a tenant trying to brain wash him in trying to steal the land. Every where she rents, she insist on stealing people land.

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