Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Holness unveils strategy to end squatting

Published:Thursday | April 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second right) listens as President and Chief Executive Officer of World Homes Jamaica Limited William Lai (right) speaks about the types of amenities being provided through a new housing development being undertaken by his company, as is demonstrated by a model home. The prime minister broke ground for the construction of 230 housing units as part of the Foreshore Estate development in Delacree Pen in South West St Andrew during a ceremony on Tuesday. Also pictured (from left) are Councillor for the Greenwich Town division Karl Blake and Member of Parliament for South West St Andrew Dr Angela Brown Burke. In the background is Senior Manager, National Housing Trust (NHT), Donald Moore. World Homes Jamaica is undertaking the new low-income housing development in partnership with the NHT.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday gave the assurance that his administration has the solution to Jamaica's long-standing and growing squatter problem, which it is on track to resolving once and for all.

The provision of affordable housing under his watch will prove to be the game changer, the prime minister said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 230 mixed starter units at Foreshore Estate, which will be built by World Homes Jamaica Limited.

Squatting is not only a function of the unavailability of land, but more so a result of the paucity of housing solutions provided by the formal market, according to the prime minister.

"We will solve the squatting problem because we will build up housing to meet the demand that is generated yearly. Our strategy will clear it, and then we will build each year to ensure that the market for housing clears, and then you will not have a squatting problem," Holness stated.

"This is the real solution for dealing with the squatting problem in Jamaica, and you are seeing it unfold right in front of you. Not a promise, not a gimmick, not appealing to any emotions. This is a about getting it done, and we will get it done. There is no solving the squatting problem by giving away houses, and I think that is a point that needs to be made in Jamaica in the 21st century."

He added, "To own the house means that you have a stake in ensuring that the community develops and remains at a high standard; you have an asset to protect. What we must give away is the ability to earn it. So we don't give away the house, we make it affordable to own, and that is the strategy of the Government."

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com