70 single houses will be built to relocate the Broad and Lombard Street squatters, each costing $1.2M, with funding provided by the Ministry of Communities and Food for the Poor. This was disclosed during the ministry’s mid-term review and budget proposal held at the Regency Hotel, Hadfield Street.
Minister within Ministry of Communities Valerie Adams-Patterson explained that the decision to relocate the squatters was due to the legal action taken by the land owner and a High Court decision. This led to a six-week eviction notice.
“We have taken the initiative to relocate those persons. We have commenced work at Barnwell North on the East Bank where we are currently advertising to have the road done. That will facilitate house lots’ development and in collaboration with Food for the Poor we have already negotiated we are doing 70 single houses there. When we did the registration, it was close to 68 adults and 100 children in that little area,” Minister Patterson noted.
The minister emphasised that government will not allow their citizens to live in those conditions hence the relocation programme. “Our focus from CH&PA is, far as is practical, to build the low cost houses and relocate these persons and we are also looking at a similar project in Industry on the East Coast to relocate squatters from Sophia, East and West Ruimveldt and its immediate environments”, Minister Patterson explained.
The government will be investing $42M on the relocation programme, which will be transferred to Food for the Poor for the construction of the houses and $30M for the infrastructure development of the area.
Minister Patterson also reminded that government remains committed to providing lands and houses for other persons and urges that they remain patient.