Sat | Jun 23, 2018

Sitting on a squatter time bomb

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

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The court ruled that the more than 500 people who have been living on an 867-acre property in Little Bay, Westmoreland, should be evicted.

"The court may have taken a decision, but personally, I don't like the decision because when you have people living on a property for 60, 70 years, I think from the outset, when they were selling the land, the citizens should have gotten the first preference to buy that property," Bertel Moore, mayor of Westmoreland, is quoted as saying.

Either our politicians/leaders should be for the laws of the country or let us all engage in anarchy and disorder. If persons do not agree, they should, therefore, pay for the land and resell, give or develop it for the people to stay.

This squatter problem began the day slavery was abolished in 1834. There were approximately 350,000 former slaves/squatters on Crown lands. Today we have between 700,000 and one million islandwide. We are sitting on a squatter time bomb ready to explode. The devastation is unimaginable with the proliferation of guns and ammunition. This must be dealt with because if a squatter rebellion begins in Westmoreland, it could spread all the way to St Thomas. The leading squatter parishes are Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann (growing rapidly), St James, Westmoreland and Trelawny - perhaps in that order.

Kicked down the road

The squatter problem has been kicked down the road by every government since the abolition of slavery. In the main, the children of slave squatters have not yet seen Independence (1962) and it needs a multi-partisan approach to arrive at a orderly solution.

Next door in Hurlock, St James, there is an issue. Squatters all around the country are watching, ready to take cue. It is a human right to be afforded a livable space.

In seeking solutions, look at Crown lands first, most now under the control of the Urban Development Corporation. Is it possible to negotiate with the Queen to make such land available as a kind of reparation? We must avert a squatter war immediately, as this country cannot afford such devastation. I hope the Kingston-based quasi-colonial government, their confederates and opposition have got the message to act now.

MICHAEL SPENCE

micspen2@hotmail.com

Liguanea P.O, Box 630

Kingston 6