Authorities are being urged to manage the country’s squatting problems humanely. That appeal came today from St. Michael East MP, Kenny Best, who said he wanted relevant government ministries and agencies to collaborate and find a solution to the problem.
He was defending the current Administration’s record on housing since coming to office in 2008, as members debated and approved a $41.7 supplementary resolution for the Ministry of Housing and Lands. Best said squatting would continue once people were desperate to find homes, although he said he believed it generally should be discouraged.
“One must recognise that if persons are desperate for housing and they see land that is vacant and they believe it belongs to the Government they will put their house there,” he said.
“We must recognise now that when you look at all of the human rights treaties, that squatting becomes a human rights issue, so we as a Government must sit down and see how best we are going to solve the issues relating to squatting in this country because it has now reached these stage where it becomes a human rights issue.
“So it is critical that all persons must get on board to ensure that persons who, because of their circumstances, place houses certain places. What we don’t want is persons, because it is a human rights issue, [to] abuse the system and say ‘Let me put it here because when I done if the Government chooses to move me it has to provide me with a house spot’. That is not right,” he added.
Best said he also saw a need to “tie in this housing issue with our health issues, and the water issues because it is no sense having housing and where they are located cause serious problems to our water table and we are turning a blind eye to it”.
“We need to put all hands on deck to ensure that whatever we do in relation to the question of squatting, whatever we do in relation to housing that the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Water Resources all work hand in hand to ensure … we protect our water table, [and] make the people of this country healthier by not contaminating our water,” the MP said. (SC)