Bajan Dream Makes Some Compelling Points About Squatters

Should Government Buy New Homes For Squatters?

“A charity simply cannot treat to this demographic, and this underscores the main argument against the squatter sympathizers: charity, whether by the Government or some other institution, will not make life any better for squatters or remove them from poverty. Charity only gives a temporary fix, a transient comfort, but does nothing for improving self-governance or livelihoods.”

“While I agree wholeheartedly that the squatters should be removed, I am not surprised that there have been cries in the press by some of the squatters themselves and members of the opposition bench that Government should involve itself in finding alternate accommodation squatters before demolishing their homes, or even that Government should purchase the lands on which the squatters live to resell at a cheaper price. Neither of these calls reflect wisdom or initiative. While I am acutely aware of the social and economic factors that would lead individuals to squat illegally, to outfit squatters with new homes at state expense and to purchase squatter land in compromised water zones would be tantamount to rewarding theft and wrongdoing. I do not make this statement heartlessly or callously, but it sets a dangerous precedent if we say to other poor Barbadians – and indeed, Barbadians in general – that stealing out of necessity can be excused, condoned and rewarded. It is also a slap in the face to those who struggled to acquire housing and land legally to see those who went about the process illegally being outfitted with free housing and land.”

… excerpts from Bajan Dream Project Blog Squatters And Shanty Dwellers On The Upsurge In Barbados

Frightening business reading Jovan Reid’s blog…

The more I read what Jovan has to say at The Bajan Dream Project blog, the more I find myself agreeing with many of his ideas – even ideas I had rejected before.

Most disconcerting.

Robert

Previous BFP Articles About Bajan Dream Project…

Mar. 29, 2007 – Bajan Dream Project Blog Says “Strong Opposition Gives Hope For A More Balanced Democracy In Barbados” – Sorry We Have To Disagree…

Dec. 19, 2006 – Jovan Reid Makes A Point – We Agree And Offer An Olive Branch

Sept. 9, 2006 – Bajan Dream Project – Helping The Poor… Or Keeping Them That Way?

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics

4 responses to “Bajan Dream Makes Some Compelling Points About Squatters

  1. reality check

    “and to purchase squatter land in compromised water zones would be tantamount to rewarding theft and wrongdoing”

    would it be any different to buy land extremely cheap for you and your friends in Zone 1 watershed, knowing you can get rezoning approval without a proper EIA from the PM in a matter of days and then flipping it for millions of dollars?

    and the answer is—of course its different–they are just poor squatters living on compromised water zones and there is nothing for them to give their elected politicians. Tough luck!!!

  2. hants

    Squatters should be treated like other citizens of Barbados.

    They should be given 60 days to move and find somewhere else to live.

    Those that are unemployed can apply for Welfare.
    Those who have jobs can find their own housing just like everybody else.

    Barbadians used to live in 1 room chattel houses,
    pay rent for the land and worked hard to save and add on and improve their homes.Hard work and sacrifice.

    Why should squatters not do the same?

    Of course some of us forget but I remember growing up in a chattel house plus a shed roof on RENTED LAND.

    Home sweet home.

  3. Maat

    There is every likelihood that there will be an increase in squatter settlements, as reasonably priced land becomes more scarce and alternative low priced housing schemes are over subscribed.
    We pay civil servants and the government to seek solutions to these challenges. Their job is to work for us all, and that includes to the benefit of squatters.
    The same thing goes for the judiciary and our law courts. The magistrate or judges job is not just to punish or incarcerate. They are paid by the tax payer and as such are there to serve our needs. What sense is there in fining a drug dealer or an unemployed thief? They will more than likely go back out and rob, steal or sell more drugs to pay the fine.
    Put the petty, non violent criminals into apprenticeship programs as a sentence. Six months to three years as a trainee mason, carpenter or mechanic may do more good than a spell in the slam, and it is pretty obvious that we do not have enough of these tradesmen in Barbados.
    The Ministry of Social transformation needs to take the squatters before a magistrate and have them submit to a means test. If the problem is a low income and other contributing social factors, find work for them, cheap private rental accommodation, training programs and ultimately hostel type accommodation. This is to discourage the act of squatting. The houses should not be destroyed, but sold off or kept in storage that is paid for by the squatter.
    We can maintain a tough stance with crime, so long as it is also reasonable and with compassion from the point of view to finding a solution rather than continuing to push criminals from one point to another and they just end up in the same place all over again.
    When the government of Zimbabwe pushed down and moved a lot of squatter settlements there was worldwide (make that Western) condemnation. Are we really any better?

    Peace

  4. von

    I have to disagree with Maat on several points, and point out a couple that Jovan missed.

    Let me start by saying that President Mugabe’s assault on the squatters in Zimbabwe was not conducted after 60 days notice that they should find alternative accomodation. Also the reason for them moving the squatters there had nothing to do with protecting the water table or health considerations.

    I submit that it is not the Ministry of Transformation who should do a means test on the squatters, but the squatters themselves. There are such things as integrity and pride which prevent a person from sinking to certain levels “just to get by”. How can we commisserate with persons who cry that land is beyond their pocket when the picture of where they are living includes a direct tv dish and brand name gear on the line? There was a letter in the Nation recently which spoke to that point.

    I can understand the statement that we must in an effort to be compassionate try to find solutions to the crime, but sometimes the only solution is “Hard ears you won’t hear, by and by you gon feel.” I find it difficult to feel compassion for a 23 year old mother with her 5 kids from different fathers who have nowhere to go after getting kicked out from where she was living. How did she get to that position?

    I hope that I don’t leave anyone feeling that I’m a heartless person, but I believe that there are people genuinely in need of compassion for situations which are beyond their control, and there are people who have made their bed by their choices and are crying out now they have to lie in it.