Wed | Jun 23, 2021

The plight of OUR children

Published:Friday | April 13, 2012 | 12:00 AM


The issue of the Beeston Street eviction notice serves to highlight the issues of squatting, affordable housing, and tribal politics. But, most important, it highlights the plight of OUR children. Yes, 28 of OUR children.

It is shameless to see the blogs and comments on every other issue and no comments on the children. I suspect that it is because they are poor and from the lower class. Not so; they are children. They do not wear orange or green. They are just children who like to play and have fun and perhaps have somewhere to live.

The current discussion about child abuse should not overlook the abuse of children that takes place within the bureaucracy and within the justice system.

I have no fault with the eviction notice but abhor the process. Since this tenement existed for 20 years, a proper assessment of the residents and their needs should have been made. The Government can assist in arrangements for temporary quarters, especially for the families with children. Further, the disruption in schooling should be considered. Transferring children in the last two months of the school year makes no sense.

These are some of the few issues that the bureaucracy should have considered in the timing of the eviction. These are issues that can be compassionately resolved.

The broader issues of squatting, affordable housing, and tribal politics require the attention of our politicians, who seem to be having trouble finding something to do other than handing out bun and cheese. We can build temporary housing similar to the RDP housing in South Africa as a temporary solution at minimum cost. We can award these houses on a lottery basis to get rid of tribal politics. We can reduce the problem of squatting by repealing the existing laws that allow someone to capture land or claim ownership by paying back taxes.

Instead of these well-intentioned but repulsive laws, our Government can significantly increase the tax on idle land and use these funds to engage in the redistribution of land to small farmers and settlers. I am sure that there are other workable ideas.


Montego Bay, Jamaica