Some sixteen persons who have come forward to lay claims to structures which were demolished during an exercise in a squatting area at Phase 4, Amelia’s Ward Linden, were part of a ‘fruitful’ discussion with Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority, Mr. Sherwyn Greaves.
On Monday, May 9, 2022 the CEO along with Housing Officials engaged persons at the Regional Housing Office, Linden where they highlighted their plight and were informed of the Ministry’s approach moving forward.
“The engagement was very fruitful. I came in with some trepidation of hostility but there was nothing like that and I must commend the people for that,” the CEO stated.
Mr. Greaves outlined to residents, that while the exercise was unfortunate, it was necessary as the area was earmarked for a new thoroughfare and the agency could no longer sit by and hold back development.
When the occupational survey was done in mid-2021, there were no structures in the path of the road, however, squatters in the area were advised against erecting new structures, and making additions to existing structures.
“These structures weren’t here when we first visited in December 2021, they are new structures and unfortunately,they fell directly where the roads were going and had to bemoved…Nevertheless, those persons will be reallocated house lots in other locations so that they will not be out of residence”.
Of the sixteen informal settlements, only two habitable structures existed at the time of demolition, while the other structures varied from chain-link fences to wooden and concrete foundations. However, the CEO has committed to providing alternative housing solutions for all persons affected. The allocation of the house lots is expected to begin as early as Friday.
While the affected persons have agreed to the suggested resolution to the matter, the CEO pointed out that the issue of squatting is causing major set backs in the housing drive for the region.
He noted that while there are genuine instances, where persons are forced to occupy lands illegally, this practice cannot and would not be encouraged.
Greaves further explained, “last year we allocated 400 house lots in Amelia’s Ward and we cannot give persons access to those lots because of those persons who are squatting. Now we have to move around that and we have to constantly bechanging our plan and it is unfair to those 400 people to be affected by a few so as a result those actions were taken.”
(Housing Ministry Press Release)