Government continues to reduce squatting – Chang
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has said the Government continues to take proactive steps to tackle the pervasive issue of squatting across Jamaica.
Noting that this challenge has contributed to the social ills affecting the society, including crime and violence, he said addressing it effectively remains a priority for the administration.
To this end, the minister contended that the communities where squatting occurs must be reviewed as part of the Government’s efforts to curb crime in St James and other sections of the island.
“Squatting is an illegal activity. It generates an illegal ecosystem, which generates illegal activities, which eventually leads to killing and murder because [some of] the individuals in those communities… find their own ways to make money and they do it creatively and they make plenty of it,” Dr Chang said.
He was speaking at the press launch for the $1.5 billion Dream 36 housing development, at RIU Montego Bay, St James, on Wednesday.
Dr Chang advised that a programme to adequately upgrade the infrastructure and improve the lives of residents in targeted informal settlements in St James is far advanced, noting that the move is a critical part of the urban regeneration process.
“Montego Bay has had a major challenge with the evolution of a huge amount of squatting; at one stage, we had about 20 squatter settlements. While they [residents] have created an entrepreneurial spirit, it has created a lot of problems for Montego Bay. This is what we have to seek to correct,” he pointed out.
No ease up
Meanwhile, Dr Chang reiterated that Government will not relent in its effort to fight crime and violence in Jamaica.
“The crime situation has been one of concern. We are working hard at bringing it under control. It is not an easy task, because we have allowed all aspects of the pathology of crime to deteriorate rapidly,” he stated.
However, Dr Chang said the ministry is focused on improving the working conditions of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to better equip them to tackle criminality more effectively.
In the meantime, Dr Chang lauded the developers of the Dream 36 housing project in Ironshore for helping to drive development in Montego Bay.
“What this tells you is that there are high-quality, bright Jamaicans in Montego Bay laying the foundation for strong future development for [the city] … and this event signals that,” he added.
Chief executive officer for Dream Developers, Haresh Ramchandani, in providing a project overview, said the venture will rival first-class housing developments around the world, at competitive rates.
The development will entail six two-bedroom and 24 one-bedroom apartments, and six three-bedroom penthouses; a movie theatre; a roof top Jacuzzi; bar/coffee lounge; and ample parking for homeowners and guests.
Ramchandani advised that the project is slated for completion in December 2020.