April 30, 2015
Government regulates informal settlement in Carapan

More than 30 people received “offer letters” on April 23 to purchase lands that they have been occupying in Carapan.

The lands are being offered to them at fifty cents per square foot.

Parliamentary representative Frederick Stephenson, in his remarks at the handing over ceremony, held at the school grounds {{more}}of the St Clair Dacon Secondary School, said that it was the policy of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration to ensure that people occupying state lands for years get title deeds for the lands.

“Today, offer letters would be given to you for the lands which you have been occupying for the last 25 and some of you 30 years, at the price of fifty cents per square foot. I don’t think you can get it any better than that,” he said.

Chair of the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) Sir Vincent Beache said when he represented the South Windward constituency, of which Carapan is a part, he started advocating to regularize the process for informal settlement or squatters, as they are locally called. He said the process was not easy, as people often occupied “a nice piece of land.” However, because of the advancement made by the occupants, the lands were in need of realignment.

The former minister of government said those who received letters would have legal possession of the land they occupy.

While delivering the feature address, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves stated his administration had been addressing housing needs of people of this country. He said that the philosophy of the ULP was a philosophy which was people centered. “It is called social democracy,” he claimed.

“Social because it encompasses all the people, the rich and the poor, those who are professionals and those who are workers; business people and farmers, mother and sons, fathers and daughters, Jews and Gentiles….everybody.”

He continued: “Democracy relates to the participation of the people of the country in which good governance is demonstrated where we are responsible to the people and responsive to them.”

He then highlighted the achievements his administration had made over the 14 years of office in the area of housing.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, stated his government initiated the low income housing programme, the housing rehabilitation programme after storms, the 100 per cent mortgage financing for civil servants. The possessory title bill, he reminded the gathering, allowed people to get title for their lands.

Continuing with listing the achievements, he also said Vincentians were being trained in the construction field and the ‘Lives to Live’ programme, currently ongoing, is dealing with 65 units, some in the form of constructing houses, others bathrooms and toilets.