The Gleaner reports that some squatters in Jamaica are acting like landlords and charging fellow residents for the privilege of squatting.
This is, of course, nothing new. There are squatter landlords and squatter tenants in most shantytowns around the world. And the newspaper admits that rents in these communities are nominal and "generally below the prevailing market rate."
Of course they are: that's why people squat, because they are seeking housing they can afford. The private sector does not provide that.
Minister of Water and Housing Dr Horace Chang has said that almost 1 million people, or 1/3 of Jamaica's population, are living either as squatters or on land they do not own. A recent study of the squatter settlements in Jamaica showed that 2/3 of them had been in existence for more than two decades. These communities deserve to be recognized for what they are: normal urban neighborhoods.