“We can’t allow people to squat again” – MP Harold Dalsan on Cresslands action

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“We can’t allow people to squat again” – MP Harold Dalsan on Cresslands action
HaroldDalson
Minister Harold Dalsan

Government has responded to criticisms over its recent announcement urging Cresslands squatters to leave the community by the end of this month.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Soufriere/Fond St Jacques Harold Dalsan said the step taken by the Ministry of Physical Development is necessary.

“It is beyond my comprehension why Saint Lucians believe that they can just move into property that doesn’t belong to them, inhabit it, modify it and believe its okay,” he argued.

Dalsan said government had removed citizens from squatting areas in the past and provided them with land titles through the PROUD programme, but staid “we can’t allow more persons to squat.”

“This is a very unfortunate situation because you have a couple of houses which formed the commencement of a bigger project, which was relocation for the people of Barons Drive. That did not come through. However, then came Tomas and exposed the vulnerabilities in the area,” Dalsan said.

The Cresslands Housing Development site was acquired by the government in 2000 and was used for the Sites and Services Component of the Shelter Development Project.

The Cresslands site was thereafter incorporated into the Barons Drive Relocation Project as a resettlement site to be developed for the residents of Barons Drive, Soufriere.

The implementation of the Barons Drive Relocation Project commenced during the 2008/09 financial year; and by October 2010, a total of fourteen (14) housing units had been completed.

The units were used to accommodate displaced households from Fond St. Jacques.  The said households were subsequently resettled at Mocca, Soufriere.

However, following Hurricane Tomas in 2010, the government commissioned FDL Consult Inc. to investigate the physical and geological conditions which precipitated the damage to the Cresslands site.

The primary outcome of this investigation was that the site was unsuitable for housing development given its propensity for landslides and rock falls during extreme events.

It was also recommended that the plans for further development of the site be aborted; and that any occupation of the existing units should be preceded by the implementation of geotechnical mitigation measures.  To date no such mitigation measures have been implemented.

Government said it is mandated to ensure the security and safety of its citizens; and in consideration of the potential for damage and loss of lives, the squatters have been instructed to vacate the housing units by Nov. 20, 2015.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Long detailed speech! Mr. Dalsun Fully understood. But is November 20 a realistic time frame to have them leave the houses and just find somewhere else to live ahead of the Christmas Season there?

    The Government of St Lucia should have some more consideration and give them until after the season. January 2016 to me is a more realistic and compassionate deadline for moving. Its not like they are being asked to leave and are being presented with a different option, it is more like an ultimatum of"Get Out!"

    Imagine those with kids. Do we punish the kids because of the bad decisions their parents may have made? Give them at least December to find suitable arrangements for moving in the New Year.

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  2. AffordabLE HOUSInG IS HARD to Come By. If THE mINisteR caN't UnderSTAnD WHY squatinG occURS, perhAPS he SHould CONSIDER INvESTIGATIOn the CAUSES aND TACKLE THEM. The PROBleM IS SQUATING and whAT can i do as a miNister anD REP TO solvE thAT aNd AT THe SAMe timE cAUSE SOmE opportunITIES FOR REvenUE sustainABly. MANy IDEAS ARE out there, please sit with YOUR PEOPLE.

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  3. i can understand what he is saying but if yall dont want people to squat them make it a bit easier and cheaper for one to own their own house and land in saint lucia and i am talking about the poor people who can hardly afford it is difficult for them cause one the dont make enough of money to buy land which is so expensive let alone take a proper loan to pay for it and all this thing about banks want you to have insurance for you to take loan and lucelec and wasco want you to have a bill in your name to connect water and electricity plus you have to go to planning with all those things and if you dont have land in your name you cant build a house ,all those procedures are good but to me i see those very same procedures adding more to squatting casue people cant afforad all of this especially ayoung person that on their own just starting life and with no parents or others to help them out so its obvious they going to squat

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