2,000 Housing Solutions to Regularize Squatting
Story Highlights The units will be completed and handed over during this fiscal year Minister Guy has mandated the HAJ to accelerate its titling programme Cabinet has approved the compulsory acquisition of land in Leith Hall in St. Thomas Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, has reiterated Government’s plans to provide more than 2,000 housing solutions to residents across the island in an effort to regularise existing squatter communities.Dr. Guy, who was addressing members of the Rotary Club of Kingston East and Port Royal at the Morgan’s Harbour hotel on July 22, said the units will be completed and handed over during this fiscal year.Among the plans, is the provision of 24 housing solutions at a cost of $7.5 million on some two hectares of land in Esher, St. Mary. Additionally, 33 housing solutions will be provided for residents at 16 Jobs Lane in Spanish Town, St. Catherine.The Government is also working to upgrade the infrastructure at Galleon Beach Settlement in St. Elizabeth and at 21 August Town Road, St. Andrew, which will result in a total of 294 solutions.Dr. Guy also informed that Cabinet has approved the compulsory acquisition of land in Leith Hall in St. Thomas for the regularisation of over 2,000 households as well as the acquisition of lots in Hanna Town in an effort to provide titles in the subdivision for longstanding residents.In the meantime, the Minister disclosed that he has mandated the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) to accelerate its titling programme, with a view to transferring 5,000 of the remainder of the 9,000 titles to Operation Pride beneficiaries.Some of the areas to benefit include: Bedward Gardens and St. Benedicts in East Rural St. Andrew; Gravel Heights, Eastern St. Catherine; Spanish Villa/Woodland, Central St. Catherine; Norwood, North West St. James; Retirement I and II, West Central St. James; Whitehouse, Eastern Westmoreland; Boscobel Brownfield, Western St. Mary; Galloway, Central Westmoreland; Lower Works, South West St. Elizabeth; Vaughnsfield, Southern St. James; and Dunbeholden, Southern St. Catherine.Regarding the other 4,000 titles, Dr. Guy assured that when land ownership, surveying, and land acquisition challenges are resolved, the titles for these will be issued.As it relates to legislation, Dr. Guy informed that the Ministry will also be moving to modernise the country’s squatting laws by amending the Trespass Act, which has been around for over 175 years.