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Govt blamed for spike in squatting


Govt blamed for spike in squatting

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A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT says Government’s failure to address the housing needs of the poorest has spurred increased squatting across the country.

Speaking in the House of Assembly last Friday during pre-lunch debate on a resolution to compulsorily acquire land in St Thomas, St Michael East MP Trevor Prescod said while some Barbadians viewed squatters as people who got land easily without going through the correct channels, life as a squatter was far from easy.

He told the House that very often, the people lacked access to water and proper sanitation and the absence of these two essentials exposed them to illness and diseases such as dengue and chikungunya.

Prescod said he was also very concerned that some contractors working on Government housing projects were “charging too much” and while some presented reasonable costs prior to the start of the projects by the time they were finished, the costs would sometimes double.

​​Exercise caution

​​In this connection, the MP called on Government to exercise caution, saying that because of inflated prices the situation was creating an additional burden and would eventually affect the people who were likely to occupy those homes.

Prescod, who has described himself as an advocate of the poor, said he was disappointed that Government appeared to be moving away from long-held principled positions in relation to housing, education and health.

Drawing on the Cuban example, Prescod said despite the economic troubles that the socialist Caribbean country has faced for decades, the government has not waivered on its commitment to the provision of high quality education, health and housing for its people.

According to him, the Freundel Stuart administration needed to defer some of the “cosmetic things” until later when the country was in a stronger financial position but it has to take control of the question of housing for the poor. (GE)