Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Letter of the Day | Who’ll pay to relocate Westmoreland squatters?

Published:Tuesday | June 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM


It is embarrassing and appalling to see lawmakers giving the middle finger to legislation. The legal battle that has been ongoing for over a decade in Western Westmoreland over 867 acres of land owned, as per the court's ruling, by Kathleen Eugster and her late husband John again shows that politics in Jamaica is one nasty game and elected officials will say almost anything to ensure their seat is protected.

I was flabbergasted by assertions made by Sav-la-Mar Mayor Bertel Moore during a press conference at the St George's Methodist Church where Mayor Moore boldly stated, "Whatever it takes for us as councillors, we will be ready to fight with you until the end." What the heck does that mean?

May I remind Mayor Moore that a life has already been lost over this said issue; therefore, his contentious stance does not help any of the players involved in this messy affair.

Other issues are at play as well. How did communities and towns develop over the years without any of the occupants of the lands having titles? Who gave them permission to build? I am sure representatives from both the PNP and the JLP campaigned in these areas every election cycle and saw the developments happening. Dr McNeill has been MP for more than 20 years. Am I to believe that all the houses located in the area were built more than 30 years ago? I refuse to believe this is so.


Total Lack of Oversight


This entire affair points to a total lack of oversight from government agencies and non-representation from elected officials. MPs must come to the realisation that when they turn a blind eye to the illegal practices of their constituents, especially when it comes to squatting, they are setting them up for a rude awakening.

Jamaicans must understand that legitimising land ownership is their only protection. Word of mouth, in most cases, cannot stand up in court.

If the Government will have to purchase portions of the land to relocate the residents, who will foot this bill? Will I, as a taxpayer, have to pay upwards of US$30 million? When will politicians grow balls or have the gumption to not side with squatters just for votes?