Greenidge: Squatters should be made to pay
Squatters knew the risk they were taking when they set up at Rock Hall, St Philip, and they should pay the price, said Senator Rudolph “Cappy” Greenidge on Wednesday.
As the Senate debated a resolution to compulsorily acquire land in the area, a former landfill, Greenidge said while he sympathised with those in the illegal settlement, they were doing wrong and since Government has found a spot for them they should pay to move their structures. Some of the squatters are to be moved a short distance away to Gemswick.
“Quite frankly, if you have a wall structure on the property, I think that is your problem. You may have to walk away and leave it, that is a big risk that you took on yourself when you built that wall structure without permission. You took a risk and you fell into your own trap that is about as blunt as you can be.
“It is the price that you have to pay for disobeying the law. I believe that the Government is being extremely compassionate, these individuals should be thankful that the Government is finding somewhere for them to be. They will move together as a community, they do not have to spend a lifetime to a spot. This is a lifeline being thrown out to the squatters. There is nothing wrong with making a tough decision if that tough decision is the right decision.”
The squatters moved from about 100 houses in 2006 to more than triple that in 2019 when authorities issued removal notices.
Greenidge said that once a radio caller suggested that the squatters, like other law abiding citizen, didn’t pay rent or taxes and their homes should be bulldozed and while he did not share that view the expense of relocation should be that of the squatters. He said that moving should be the responsibility of the squatters who though they might have spent their life’s saving on the structures, should not expect the Government to do everything for them.
However, Greenidge said, the point was they had disobeyed the law he would not be supporting them in building on the site in the first place.
“If we do not take this stance we will be condoning the action of people who are deliberately breaking the law. It would send the wrong message, that persons can break the law and then they can say I want some sympathy and then they could get away with it. Silence today is not an option,” he said. (AC)