Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Illegal settlements a national disaster

Published:Saturday | June 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Squatters are a headache to Jamaica. They wake up with no good intentions but to look at people's property, grudge them for it, trespass on their land, then claim it illegally.

They build on lands they don't own, then they develop a voice to protect their illegal action. Then they try to bully the owner, which is illegal, and also defy the order of the court, which is illegal. Finally they are receiving backing from some politicians.

How long will it take for the Government to see the detrimental effects squatters are having on the economy, crime numbers, good order of the country, infrastructure? Is this how we want to go forward? Can we prosper when persons take the property of other people at will?

Little Bay in Westmoreland is the latest frontier. More than 500 squatters have converged and built a shanty town on a 867-acre property owned by a couple who have been trying to get rightful possession for decades.

It is now clear to me why the matter has again come to the fore, because the political party ruling Westmoreland is out of power and the legitimate owners of the land believes there is a chance to get some justice from the present Government. I hope they are not disappointed.

The Government is obliged to protect the right of the landowners. For the squatters, they have no rights to land because they build on it. For the politicians supporting them in their wrongdoing, it is shameful, but I didn't expect much better from them.

I hope justice prevails.

JOSEPH EDWARDS