Housing ministry asks local authorities to help evict squattersSaturday, July 10, 2021
OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Faced with reports that squatters have also been selling lots on its property, the housing ministry will now move to demolish the houses built and step up monitoring of its lands in Mount Edgecombe, Runaway Bay. It has asked the St Ann Municipal Corporation for help.
“The ministry is now taking steps to undergo the demolition of buildings constructed in defiance of the notices served, engage a contractor to block the entrance road to the property and employ rangers to monitor the property,” said chief executive officer of the St Ann Municipal Corporation, Rovel Morris. He was reading a letter from the ministry during Thursday's monthly meeting of the municipal corporation.
Up to October 2020 there had been one unlawful occupant on the land; however there has been an influx of squatters since April 2021. Since February 2021 the ministry has been unsuccessfully trying to clear the space.
According to the ministry's letter to the municipality, lots are allegedly being 'sold' for as much as $250,000.
In response to the ministry's appeal for help, councillor for the Runaway Bay Division, Winston Lawrence has called for a formal meeting which he believes could be useful in deciding how to proceed.
“There are certain strategies in the letter that states how the capturing should be dealt with but I haven't heard that the corporation has called a meeting with the respective agencies to look at the strategies to be implemented,” he said.
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