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Gov’t threatens to evict Holland squatters

HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter

Friday, December 03, 2010    

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HOLLAND, Trelawny — Minister of Water and Housing Dr Horace Chang has warned persons who have settled illegally on state-owned lands in this seaport town, that they will be evicted as the Government moves to address the proliferation of squatting on the north coast.

"Some people just started last week to set up ... we have to stop that. We have to draw a line to that," the housing minister said on Wednesday.

"While we cannot reverse the entire process, we want to arrest the process; we have already seen the urge to squat around Falmouth," he said, adding that he would be visiting the site soon.

Dr Chang was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Holland Estate, a $8-billion housing development in Trelawny, which is being undertaken by KENCASA Construction and Project Management Limited and Zuccherina Development.

He pointed to ongoing plans concerning the relocation of some of the informal settlers in the historic town.

"We have some who we are relocating, we will have to formalise some, but we have some we will have to move," Chang declared.

Residents of Dump, an informal settlement along Tharpe Street and other lands that will form a part of the development of the $7.5-billion pier in the historic town, were recently allotted government-owned lands in the nearby community of Hague.

Meanwhile, the Holland Estate development, which will see the construction of 1,385 houses, commercial space and a tertiary institution on 192 acres of land, forms part of Jamaica's Vision 2030 economic development plan that includes making the island the place to live in 2030.

The target market is primarily the low to middle socio-economic income levels.

The project aims to develop four types of units — duplex studios, two-bedroom units, three-bedroom detached units and modular apartment units.

The joint venture will be undertaken in four phases. The first will involve the construction of 446 lower-end units — 280 of which will be studios.

An overall 586 of the 1,385 in the entire development will be two-bedroom units.

Noting that many National Housing Trust contributors make up the nearly one million squatters that occupy the 760 informal settlements in Jamaica, Dr Chang welcomed the new development.

"Many NHT contributors are informal settlers because many of them are not served by available markets by solutions available on the market now, because they tend to cater for the middle-income (contributors) and the lower-income (contributors) are left behind," he said.

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