Cop calls on St Ann authorities to address squatting

OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Warning that Windsor in St Ann is being overrun by squatters who are creating mayhem, a police officer last Thursday appealed to the St Ann Municipal Corporation to take action before the situation gets worse.

“There has been a proliferation… of structures across the parish with squatting, and I would like to mention Windsor as they are posing great challenges with the erection of these houses that are on captured lands,” said Inspector of Police Webster James.

He was addressing Thursday’s monthly meeting of the corporation.

“We are calling upon the municipality to treat with the matter. I know there must be an Act to treat with the erection of building on others’ property so please try and make some effort in sending out your officers to get some sort of order. The police are also here to render our assistance,” he informed.

James noted that criminals tend to reside in unstructured communities and often prey on law-abiding citizens or create mayhem.

“We carried out…myriad… operations at squatting settlements and these are where criminals harbour, reaping mayhem, just preying on residents and business people so we have to take these matters seriously,” he insisted.

He told the meeting that there have been a number of arson attacks in Windsor.

“There have been quite a few fires in the area. People trying to settle their dispute… burn down other people homes so this is giving the fire department a lot of problem to navigate that area to go in and extinguish the blaze. It is very challenging. So, again, I’m going to ask the council to be more assertive,” he implored.

Jamaica has long had a problem with squatting, a practice that has been condoned by both major political parties over the years. Prime Minister Andrew Holness was raked over the coals for much of last week after ordering the demolition of illegally constructed structures at Clifton, near Bernard Lodge in St Catherine. He said, in justifying the move, that it was a matter of national security. According to Holness, individuals with ties to the notorious Klansman gang have been illegally selling lots at Clifton.

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