Austrie. Photo credit: GIS

The Hon. Minister for Lands, Housing, Settlements and Water Resource Management, Reginald Austrie, has said that the Squatter Regularisation Programme has impacted on the lives of hundreds of families.

The Government of Dominica introduced the programme in an effort to provide nationals who had been squatting on Government properties for decades to actually own these properties by purchasing it from Government at one dollar per square foot.

The Housing Minister spoke of the impact of the programme when he addressed Parliament last week.

“For this financial year, we have taken care of 72 families added to the 483 that had been done before. So to date, this Government has given 555 families land $1.00 a square foot. I have made the point that these lands cost between $5 and $8 a square foot. As a result, we have not only given them a piece of land at a dollar a square foot, we have also given them money because one from eight is seven,” he said.

Minister Austrie however made an appeal for the beneficiaries of the Squatter Regularisation Programme to pay the monies owed to the state.

“People should make an effort to pay up. We have to pay. After all, this is the State property; it is not Skerrit property or the Dominica Labour Party property and say, ‘So because I am a Labourite, I am not paying,'” he pointed out.

He continue, “This is Dominica’s property. We believe that if you pay your one dollar a square foot, it gives us an opportunity to assist somebody else so some other people who are in a similar or worse position can benefit. So I want to put out an appeal and not only for the one dollar square foot people, but everybody should pay. Because people have a habit, it is Government thing so they are not paying for it, but they have to pay otherwise, we will be forced to institute measures to force people to pay. While we will continue to do everything we can do to ensure that persons get land and everybody owns a piece of Dominica, we must not take advantage of the situation.”