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The Housing and Water Ministry will be intensifying its aggressive campaign in 2010 to minimize and remove emerging squatter settlements that continue to pose tremendous challenges to the sector.

Minister of Housing and Water Irfaan Ali disclosed during a year-end press conference, on Monday that his Ministry will be looking at formalizing a squatter legislation in 2010 to reduce and eradicate squatting.

The legislation, he noted will have similar conditions like Trinidad and Tobago.

He said this would be a collaborative effort of the Ministries of Agriculture, Public Works, Local Government and Housing and Water.

“We need to look very rigorously at enforcing the existing law in terms of squatting…This is a collaborative and integrated system that would have to be developed,” the Minister said.
In recent years, Government has improved a large number of squatter settlements by formulating a regularisation programme to provide basic services and improve the quality of life of people living in the areas.

Some residents of the regularized squatter settlements have also received titles to their lands.

In instances where squatter settlements cannot be regularised a re-location programme is created to provide residents with house lots in alternative area. The programme seeks to place people in areas that have been allocated for housing and which will benefit from infrastructural works.

There have been successful relocations with squatters from Ogle to the Enmore/Haslington Housing Scheme and the Lamaha Railway Embankment to Westminster, Region Three.

To date over 165 squatter settlements have been regularized. These include: Sophia, Meten-Meer-zorg, Tuschen, Goed Fortuin, Edinburg, Zeelugt and Cornelia Ida North among others.

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