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New Trespass Act to deal with squatting

Published:Friday | May 24, 2013 | 12:00 AM

THE GOVERNMENT is taking steps to develop a new Trespass Act to deal with the vexing issue of land tenure and squatting in Jamaica.

The current Trespass Act was established around 175 years ago and the Government is seeking to bring this archaic law into the 21st century.

At present, an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 Jamaicans live in 700 residential squatter settlements across the country.

Minister with responsibility for housing, Dr Morais Guy, said the issue of informal settlements remains a priority area for the Government.

"The spontaneous development of informal housing results generally in poor building construction practices, leading to environmental degradation and major damage and losses during natural disaster. This is a situation which is impatient of debate and must be urgently addressed," he said.