New law coming to ban squatting
Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writer
The government has signalled that it will be moving to ban squatting.
Minister without Portfolio in the Housing Ministry, Dr. Morais Guy, in his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament yesterday said the ministry is looking at implementing a modern Trespass Act which will address the issue of squatting.
The current Act was drafted in 1851.
Dr. Guy added that the administration is also seeking to correct one of the country’s biggest social challenges.
He said he will be seeking the support of the different ministries under which various pieces of legislation exist that can be applied to addressing issues related to squatting.
Dr Guy highlighted that 15 to 35 percent of Jamaicans are estimated to be living in squatter settlements or abandoned buildings.
According to him, an assessment in 2008 by the Squatter Management
Unit of the Housing Ministry, identified that there were over 700 squatter settlements across the country.
He said it revealed three types of squatting in Jamaica: agricultural, residential and commercial with the most dominant type being residential.