SVG

Vermont family gets demolition deadline

Emrol John, right, his common-law wife Cherry Herbert, and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace at the home in Vermont yesterday (Photo: NDP).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A Vermont man and his family have been given until Sunday to remove their house or have it demolished as the government prepares to construct a bridge in the South Leeward community.

The Unity Labour Party (ULP) government has allocated EC$1.39 million for the construction of the Vermont-Francois Bridge, Minister of Works Sen. Julian Francis told Parliament last October.

He said that while construction of the bridge was scheduled to begin before Independence – Oct. 27 – it was being delayed by a resident at the site and asked South Leeward representative and opposition legislator, Nigel Stephenson to ask the occupant to move.

Taiwan last month gave the government EC$3,423,911.43, from which the Vermont-Francois Bridge project will get two separate amounts of EC$402,300 and EC$581,770.

The authorities have served notice to Emrol John that if he does not relocated by this Sunday not only will his three-bedroom concrete and wooden house be demolished, but he will also have to pay the cost of demolition.

John has been living in the spot since 2000, where he built the house that is also home to his common-law wife Cherry Herbert and their four children — ages 7, 13, 18, and 21.

Reports reaching I-Witness News indicate that the spot on which the house was built was initially a garbage heap for the community.

John was not given permission to construct his house there but I-Witness News understands that state authorities gave him the relevant documents to facilitate the connection of water and electricity to the house.

And Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, who visited the family yesterday, said that when the state facilitated the connection of electricity and water to John’s house, they legitimized his residence.

Eustace, however, said that John is being victimised because he switched his support from the ULP to the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), which Eustace leads.

“The project … has funding in it for relocation which could be used for relocating his house. He has no objection to relocation,” Eustace said in an NDP audio recording reaching to I-Witness News late last night.

Eustace said that while preparatory work was being done for construction of the bridge, “nothing has been done about relocating” John and his family.

“And he has been appealing on radio for assistance and for some show of action and concern on the part of the government. This has had not happened,” Eustace said.

“Yesterday, they were cleaning immediately behind his house, which is already at the edge of the river, and if this continues, all you will find is that the house goes into the river. And the appeal is simple: relocate him,” Eustace said.

He said that while land had been identified to which John could be relocated, “because of his political affiliation, the government does not want to do it.

“The point is, his house is here, he has been facilitated by this very government, the ULP government, with electricity and water to his home. So they in fact have helped to legalise his position on this spot,” said Eustace, who emphasised that funding is available in the project for relocation of the family.

“If he was a ULP supporter, would he have been relocated? Sure! We are asking that his situation be taken into serious consideration and the relocation process commenced,” said Eustace who said John’s situation is an example of the “victimisation” he has been speaking about since

2001 – when the ULP came to office.

Eustace said that while he acknowledged that the bridge is to be built, “The problem is that [John] is not a supporter of the government.

“Every one in this country has a democratic right to support who they wish or to support no party at all. Therefore, let him have his democratic right as a citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Eustace said.

Continuing saga

Emrol John's home in Vermont will be demolished if he does not relocate by this Sunday, authorities say (Photo: Ovid Burke).

But the impending demolition is one episode in a saga that has been playing out in the nation’s Parliament since last year.

During the Sept. 29 meeting of Parliament, Member of Parliament for South Leeward, opposition lawmaker Nigel Stephenson asked Housing Minister Francis when work would commence on the bridge.

“Mr Speaker, I will ask the Parliamentary Representative to cooperate with the Ministry of Works in getting the persons whose house is built in the place where this bridge is supposed to go to cooperate with the Ministry and move out before we have to move him,” Francis said.

Francis, while not identifying John by name, said that the house was built “despite advice from the previous minister and the Ministry”.

Stephenson then told lawmakers that he was prepared to cooperate with Francis “as soon as he (Francis) is able to identify an alternative piece of land so that individual can put his house”.

“Because these are not the days when you can arbitrarily tell people they have to relocate and there is not an alternative. As soon as that is done, I am giving you my word, I am prepared to cooperate with you,” Stephenson said.

“Mr. Speaker, despite the policy of the Unity Labour Party, this Minister of Works is not going to recommend that this man be found a spot to relocate because he was advised by persons close to the Member for South Leeward and persons close to the New Democratic Party to put his house there,” Francis responded.

“In this project, there is no allocation for the relocation of that gentleman. He will have to remove his house or it will be removed. And it is not anything to do with politics,” Francis further stated.

Francis noted that residents of Vermont have been asking for the bridge for years, even during the 1984-2001 tenure of South Leeward representative Jerry Scott, who Francis said was the best representative the constituency ever had.

“We went there during the campaign, we spoke about it before this gentleman put his house there. We tried to stop him. We went inside there other people egging him on telling him ‘Man, build your house there; they can’t move it.’ Well, if you want the bridge, ask him to move his house,” Francis said in response to Stephenson’s questions in Parliament on Sept. 29.

Stephenson again raised the issue when Parliament met on Oct. 22, asking if there was “a relocation cost allocated in the contract for any property in the apparent path of the proposed” bridge, how much money, if any was allocated, and who was the owner of the property.

But Francis, citing the rules of the House, said that Stephenson had said on radio that there was a relocation cost in the contract.

Francis noted that, according to the Standing Orders, legislators are not allowed to ask whether statements in the press or of private individual or of unofficial bodies are accurate.

“Well, go to the unofficial source and the private source because inside of my ministry, Mr. Speaker, I have the up-to-date information. What you want to get from an unofficial source and a private source, you can go and say that.”

Francis noted that he had “made certain statement in the previous Parliament”.

“Today, I wish to state that this matter of the Vermont Bridge, there is a provisional sum and that matter is under review by my Ministry. We have had some discussions on the subject matter and that is all I am prepared to say on the matter today. Because there are on-going decisions and in provisional sums, changes can be make whenever or wherever according to policy,” Francis said during the Oct. 22 meeting of Parliament.

Stephenson, speaking on the issue on radio last night, said that his research has found that EC$200,000 was allocated in the contract to buy a piece of land and construct a home for John and his family.

“But because he voted for the New Democratic Party, they didn’t want to give him that money at all,” Stephenson said.

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Discussion

45 thoughts on “Vermont family gets demolition deadline

  1. Sir, it would be apparent that this gentleman needs to seek an interim injunction as soon as possible on the “American Cynamid” Case Guidelines which are standard law throughout the English Common law world. Such an injunction ought to be made ex parte and as soon as possible via the High Court of SVG.
    I am a Labour man but I feel for this guy and his family, yet on the other hand we are not sure the entire circumstances of the case, were they served at least 6 months in advance with a statutory demand notice, what sort of procedures were or are in place to allow the Government to compel the transfer of land title.

    Before we all jump on Ralph’s case lets ascertain the facts and get more information on this issue.

    Posted by Marcus Soares | February 8, 2012, 08:55
  2. Can Mr. Stephenson contact the Taiwanese Gov’t regarding this matter? Yes Vermont needs the bridge, but how can this family be fairly compensated for their home? If the land was not purchased by them, then they are not entitled to a fee for that, however they should be provided with all building materials and enough cash for rebuilding.

    Posted by jacqueline wilson | February 8, 2012, 08:57
    • Why? if they didn’t pay for the land, they were squatters…
      Why should taxpayers pay for people who intend to stay outside the law?

      Posted by Noone's Angel | February 8, 2012, 10:16
    • These people shouldn’t be acting WRONG AND STRONG they should be ASKING FOR SOME ASSISTANCE OR LENIENCY.

      face facts, they’re squatters.

      Posted by Noone's Angel | February 8, 2012, 10:19
  3. Why should the TAXPAYERS of this BLESSED NATION COMPENSATE this MAN when he doesn’t OWN the PROPERTY and he was told NOT to build a house there because the Francois-Vermont bridge was going to be built there?

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | February 8, 2012, 09:49
    • Why are tax payers still paying the salary of the son of the speaker of the house when it was proven that he stole from the government??????

      Posted by vincy in bad shape | February 8, 2012, 13:55
    • this is the same vincy powa who claims that this government cares for poor people….. Joker you are.

      Posted by vincy in bad shape | February 8, 2012, 14:28
  4. Don’t we all wish we can build homes where ever we wish without purchasing the land first, I wish some people will stop making everything a political issue an deal with the real issue here, the man is wrong for building a concrete home on land that he didn’t pay for, it is like some people who ask to lease your land an the turn around an do the same thing like the have so sense, because they are trying to pull a fast one, too many Vincentains do this sort of thing feeling they can get away with it. I agree with all the other comments made so far.

    Posted by GODWIN | February 8, 2012, 10:27
  5. Noone’s Angel and VINCY POWA, there is a God who sees everything, even the evil that is in our hearts. Come on don’t be this dishonest to your own consciences. Are you suggesting that squatting is something new in SVG? Are you honestly telling the rest of us that there are no ULP supporters squatting on Government land right now? In Central Leeward, I am told of one family who was given a low income house despite the fact that they were owning a house. They are now renting the house they previously lived in. Further, they took up all the lands that is to the back of the low income home( squatting). On top of that, they are given new lands( for ULP supporters only) in another part of Peter’s Hope for themselves and their family members. All of this is OK because they are ULP supporters. Meanwhile there are countless others who cannot get a low income home nor can they get a piece of land to build their homes. Why? THEY DON’T SHOUT ULP AND THEY DO NOT HAVE “ME NAH TUN BACK” STICKERS ON THEIR HOMES.
    All of us pay taxex. You are acting as if Tax payers is owned by ULP and is only fo’ ULP supporters. Are you saying that it is OK to use we tax money to buy ULP votes using “poor relief” and buying Galvanized and lumber to bribe voters to vote fo’ ULP, but it is wrong to help a family to relocate under the circumstances explained above? Are yo’all so wicked! so evil that you will support this sin. Are yo’all so full of political hate that you now see other Vincentians as “dogs” because they don’t support your ULP party. WHAT KIND OF HUMANS ARE YOU? Is this what is means to support ULP? Then yo’all turn around and want to lecture us about Patriotism? This is pure evil, plain and straight.

    Posted by Olbap | February 8, 2012, 11:53
  6. Too often, our political bias causes us to be insensitive!! But there are time too, when compassion must trump our narrow analyses of issues and situations. Emrol John did not pay for the land on which he has built his home. But ask why someone would build their abode so perilously close the a river, and over a storm drain. What circumstances would lead someone to do this? But as you contemplate that, also consider this: To say that Emrol is there illegally is not at all accurate. In fact, he had the blessings of the very administration that now wants to render him homeless. To have water or electricity on Crown land, you need permission from the Government. Emrol has both, as he was facilitated by the former MP for the area.
    The problem of his location only now arises, because his home is in the proposed path for a new bridge. I can say this with authority, because there are other squatters along the same river bank as Emro. But years back when he was an active supporter of the ULP, he was promised assistance to move. In fact, at the time the government sought funding for the bridge, they included a provision for his relocation. That provision is still available as far a is publicized, but the Minister responsible has declared that “not a single cent” would be spent for such. Ask yourself, what has changed? How did Emrol John go from being the intended beneficiary of an earmark, to one destined for eviction and possible penalties?
    To my mind it is a thing called ‘LABOUR NOW’, or perhaps ‘OWN THE CAMPAIGN, OWN THE GOVERNMENT’.
    Strictly speaking, with funding from Taiwan, the Vincentian taxpayer bears no burden in this issue, except perhaps the heart-wrenching concern for a fellow citizen, who rather that being lifted out of a bad situation is being pushed further into it! But let us ask this: Should taxpayers pay for multiple vehicles for the use of the PM and his family, while the ordinary man losses the place where he sleeps?

    Posted by Ovid | February 8, 2012, 13:27
  7. Further, to my previous post, I can name about 12 ULP people that I kown of who were given materials to construct homes on squat lands. As I said, before VINCY POWA, NOONES’s ANGEL(or DARK ANGEL?) GODWIN(Funny?) and MARCUS SOARES … You guys are some “Heartless basta***d” Yo’ All need JESUS!

    Posted by Olbap | February 8, 2012, 13:30
    • and i can name 100 in the NDP time.

      Posted by Noone's Angel | February 8, 2012, 15:15
      • NOONE’S ANGEL…SO WHAT IS THE ISSUE HERE? IT IS A CUSTOM TO SQUAT. 100s HAVE DONE IT IN THE PAST. SO WHY ALL”YO PICKING ON THIS POOR MAN NOW? PLEASE DON’T GIVE ME THIS BULLSH*T ABOUT BUILDING BRIDGE? ALL OF US KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T SUPPORT ULP. YO”ALL CAN’T CONVINCE US OTHERWISE. SO DON’T EVEN TRY. ALL YO’ RELOCATE THE MAN AS WAS PLANNED. THIS IS THE GODLY THING TO DO. IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. ANY OTHER EXCUSE IS JUST SIMPLY DISHONEST.

        Posted by Olbap | February 8, 2012, 18:53
  8. PEOPLE READ AND UNDERSTAND….. RALPH ONCE SAID THAT IF YOU WANT TO FOOL VINCIES PUT IT IN WRITING……

    FOR THIS MAN TO GET WATER AND LIGHTS THIS VERY ULP GOVERNMENT SIGNED OFF ON IT….. SO THEY FACILITATED HIM BEING THERE. SO THEY THEMSELVES HAVE HELPED LEGALIZED THIS SPOT FOR THE MAN.

    THINGS WENT SOUR AFTER THE GUY DECIDED NOT TO VOTE FOR THEM……

    READ AND UNDERSTAND. THE MONEY WAS GIVEN TO RELOCATE THE MAN, HAVE A HEART PEOPLE HAVE A HEART.

    Posted by vincy in bad shape | February 8, 2012, 13:40
  9. The Minister of Works etc. is a cold, heartless, selfish, callous, vindictive, insensitive, brutish, evil, wicked … being. What a country we have!!!!! No way. We need immediate change, or else…

    Posted by justice | February 8, 2012, 15:27
  10. OLBAP, yes, there is a God that sees everything, which is why I am not worried. Moreover, my CONSCIENCE is EXTREMELY CLEAR on this issue.

    The squatting culture is part of the LEGACY of the INCOMPETENT NDP.

    That said; this is not an issue of whether or not a ULP or NDP supporter is SQUATTING on government land right now. This is about a squatter who was told over two years ago not to add on to his house because the Francois-Vermont Bridge is going to be built there and he will have to find somewhere else to live.

    In other words, he was given TWO YEARS NOTICE to FIND somewhere else to LIVE and REFUSED.

    As always, the NDP in the person of Nigel Stephenson told the squatter that government could not move him and so he stayed. Not only did he not move he extended his living quarters.

    Well, it is time to build the Francois-Vermont Bridge and his property has to be demolished to get the project going.
    What should the government do, not build the bridge because the squatter refused to move when he was given two years notice?

    The people of Vermont/Francois have been promise this bridge since the days of the then NDP government. Now they have a government who has kept its word by securing funds to build it. The time has come to build this bridge and the government and the people are not going to allow partisan politics and the manipulation of a squatter by a politician and his party to stop this project from moving forward.

    As Ronald Reagan said to then Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL,” I too am saying to the government of SVG to TEAR DOWN the WALL of the squatter, so that the much needed BRIDGE can be built.

    The people of Vermont and Francois waited decades for this bridge and no partisan politics or DISTRACTION is going to stop it from being built.

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | February 8, 2012, 15:32
  11. Ovid, too often supporters of the NDP like to embellish the truth for their own partisan political interest.

    Mr. John was given two years notice to vacate the area where the Francois-Vermont Bridge is going to be built and he refused. He refused because then NDP representative for that constituency, Nigel Stephenson, told him NOT to MOVE.

    Moreover, the government told Mr. John that it would pay to move in an area for him to rent for six months in which time he would construct his home on the land that was secured for him. Of course, he refused because of PARTISAN POLITICS.

    You mentioned that this government supplied water and light to the home of the squatter. Well, that has been the policy of this government. He was not the first squatter that was supplied with water and electricity connection by this government.

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | February 8, 2012, 16:30
    • Justice, all the adjectives you posted to DESCRIBE Minister Francis are better suited for the NDP.

      Imagine this DESPERATE PARTY is even WILLING to EXPLOIT a squatter occupying government land, knowing he has kids, by telling him to STAY there, knowing full well that it is not in his BEST INTEREST to do so.

      But that is what happens when you have a party that is desperate and devoided of ideas needed to peak the interest of the masses and so it has to RESORT to GIMMICKS of this nature to get notice.

      Nevertheless, just like all the other GIMMICKS that FAILED, so too will this one, because the people of Francois and Vermont and the government are not going to allow a squatter and the SAD EXCUSE of an OPPOSITION PARTY, the NDP, STOP this MUCH NEEDED BRIDGE from being built.

      Posted by VINCYPOWA | February 8, 2012, 18:53
      • VINCY POWA the way your mind works does nothing less than amaze me? Think about what your are saying man. What principle are you estolling here? Don’t you have any love whatsoever in your heart for humanity? Can you put aside your party worshiping and put yourself in the place of this man. You can only be dishonest to try to convince us that this is all about building the bridge. No body is against building the bridge. Our concern is that a man’s life is being virtually threathen because of his political choice. This whole thing is about getting back at the man because he switched his political support. To say this is not so is just plain dishonest man, and you know it. Yes! go ahead and build the bridge but use the money that was allocated to relocate the man. This is what this issue is about. All this bullsh*t about NDP being desperate and is using the plight of the man and his children for politics is beside the point. It is share nonsense and you know it. The only one that is desperate here is the man and his family. The thing is the government has the power to help this man. Refusing to do so is wrong. It is inhumane. The man is a Vincentian. He pays taxes just like all of us. He has a right to a home for himself and his family. All this talk about breaking the squatting law is just legalism. There is a greater law. The law of love. That is why the scriptures tells us that you cannot say you love God and hate your neighbour. This has nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of squatting, it has evergthing to do with taking care of ALL of our Vincentians brothers and sisters. It should not be about political spite and victimization. NOBODY IS AGAINST BUILDING. So why are you making this an issue VINCY POWA?Question: Will you support and defend the murder of this this family on Sunday if they choose to remain in their homes and allow the Bulldozers run over them? Will this be justified in the cause for building a bridge?

        Posted by OLBAP | February 9, 2012, 08:00
  12. That’s why SVG so corrupt, We have too many small minded people as leaders. This is a poor man housing his family and the government want him and his family to become homeless. ( Think again people) find some where for him to relocate, give him materials and have him pay for the new lot of land he will be given. Next election he may remember ULP for that, Francisco think about the young children in that family. God bless you guys.

    Posted by smooth | February 8, 2012, 17:59
  13. I do not usually address the alter egos of cowards. I am Ovid Burke, I have opinions about issues of national importance and I represent those views in my own name. I cannot say the same for some on here. In fact there are assassins who parade unsubstantiated statements behind the veil of a pseudonym. Those are phantoms of the dangerous kind.

    Emrol John was promised that a piece of land at Top Village in Vermont, and belonging the Springer family, would be bought for him, and that he would be relocated. It is that reason why there is a provision in the project for this purpose.

    Emrol’s problem is this: While it is relatively common to occupy crown land (and in his case, with the blessing of the Government), it is not the same thing with private property. He cannot move occupy the Springer’s lot before they are paid! For months now he has been saying this, essentially: “Pay d people dem fu dey land, an ley me move!! Me nah wh come rich! Me jus wah ah place fu live!”. So people, it is the Government that has dragged it’s feet on a promise made to the young man. It is they who have had 2 years to resolve the issue but not done so! In my view, John would be well advised not to move until he has a place to go to–until the commitments made to him by this government are kept. That is quite reasonable in all the circumstances!

    The exchanges between Nigel Stephenson and Julian Francis on this issue are longstanding and well documented. Get the recordings from the Parliament! Read the Hansard! You will find that the Minister responsible, and his Government by extension had taken a calculated approach to ‘manners’ John for “attempting to bring down the Government”. One operative of the Government was in fact bold enough to say that to him as a reason for their going back on their promise.

    But the point is this: He is squatting! You facilitated him because he was your supporter! if he is lawless then you condoned it!! You made a promise to have him relocated! You secured the funding to do so! But because he no longer supports you to are going to renege. But that too, might well be the culture and modality of the ULP. take the case of Teachers!! Nuff said!!

    Anyone with a conscience, with some basic human dignity would be enraged that a fellow human being should be put through all the hoops that Emrol is being right now! I appeal to our hearts as my final comment here — Emrol and his family, like every other Vincentian deserves a place to live! We have the resources to give him such! That is the issue here an now! Let him have the resource for his new home!!

    “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

    Posted by Ovid | February 8, 2012, 19:24
  14. Well the government should assure them that they’ll be given a three bed room house ..if they give up their current one.that’s the only right thing to do.

    Posted by muah | February 8, 2012, 19:52
  15. Goneslaves stop screwing about, just send in a bulldozer and be done. After all your Marxist friend in Venezuela would not of hesitated, it would be gone in the blinking of an eye.

    Your letting down the Marxist Caribbean cause, hesitate no more, rip it down.

    I understand that World Press will be their to photograph and film. I have informed and invited them.

    Posted by Peter | February 8, 2012, 20:27
  16. I personally feel that if the man was promised land and materials he should get them. If he built his home knowing that the place was to be used to build that bridge and was encouraged by opposition MP’s then that’s another question!!!!

    Posted by no-nonsense | February 8, 2012, 21:17
    • Thank you No-Nonsense. We support opposing political views but what we have in common is repsect for human dignity. Thank you my brother and may God bless you.

      Posted by OLBAP | February 9, 2012, 08:46
    • Further information stated that the squatter was given 2 years notice by the government to move so that the bridge, which is needed by the community, can be built. The government offered him a rented house for six months to live in, so that he can rebuild his home on the land that the government had secured for him and he refused. He was given the opportunity to take whatever he wanted from the structure that he had built to use for his new house. Moreover, he was to receive $20,000.00 to help rebuild the house.
      Now If that is not concern for the poor then I don’t know what is. I realize that this guy was misguided by former and present NDP MP’s for the area. If he wants to play politics with his life then that’s all up to him. I would have accepted the government’s offer!!!

      Posted by no-nonsense | February 9, 2012, 17:17
  17. My Dearest Citizens, as a lawyer I have to approach this issue on the facts as given and the law as it stands. it is trite law that where the Crown has interest in a particular piece of property and crosses the relevant threshold of necessity under the Law of Property Act 1925 and other associated land law statutes on our books then after the serving of a statutory notice, the citizen must be reasonably compensated for his / her loss and must vacate within the time period granted. The other aspect is that this man holds no title whether in law or in equity (i.e. any notion of squatter’s rights which are only accrued as to title after 12 years although in this case he may have a legal argument based on possession), he was served over 2 years ago with the statutory notice and allocated a piece of land on which to move to (i have not seen or heard anything concerning payment to the owners of the private land so i cannot comment further than to say, he may be able to gain injunctive relief (via a legitimate expectation) on that basis i.e. to hold up the construction until payment to the private owners but i need to see the documentation).

    This situation is being hijacked by both parties and is sad, from my own view as a former Vermont resident this house was built in plain contravention of common sense and as my Grandmother would say he is “harden”!!

    Here in England we do have squatters claiming the world of rights and moaning about their human rights when they are in fact impinging on the right of the Society as a whole, this bridge will unite Vermont and will provide relief for all when the river comes down and people going to and from the Post Office etc.

    Mr Emrol, please move !!!!!

    Posted by Marcus Soares | February 9, 2012, 06:54
    • MARCUS SOARES is matter is not about legalism. This is a moral issue. It about the state demonstrating care a love for one of its citizens. It is about helping a poor family to live in his own homeland. This is what caring government do. People do all kinds of wrongs. Squatting is something that has been going on for years in SVG. (We are not in England). All political parties use it to their advantage to get votes. There are whole villages in SVG located on Squat lands. Please sir give us a break. Trying to veil this whole issue of political vitimization under the veil of the law is ‘bullsh*tery’. You are advising the man to move! This is your solution? Tell us ..Move to where?

      Posted by OLBAP | February 9, 2012, 08:57
  18. With a Judiciary that is very much under the control of this Marxist regime I hold no hope for this man in any SVG court.

    Posted by Peter | February 9, 2012, 07:27
  19. It is tragic when a simple issue of securing a plot of land for the erection of a bridge has escalated into a political melodrama. Surely squatting on public and sometimes private lands has become a part of SVG culture. As a matter of fact it is an instrument of colonialism. The foreigners who first came to SVG squatted on our Carib lands. When La Soufriere erupted in 1902, most of people in the surrounding areas moved to safer quarters; squatting on lands in Questelles, Chauncey, Carib Village, Greggs, Lowmans, Clare Valley, Spring, Rose Hall and so forth. These are not recognized villages although many residents do not have deed. Recently, under PPP, Labour, NDP and ULP governments, people have squatted on lands in Rillan Hill, Lowmans Bay, Plan, Coconut Range, Diamond, No. 8, Dubious, and many areas along the main road. To date, nothing substantive have been done about squatting in the legal or governmental sphere. So if you know your historical development you would not bash squatting, because many of those who decry squatting are inheritors of squatting.
    The real issue is the acquisition of the land to pursue the construction of the bridge. Frankly, the government did not have to legally promise an alternative; whether it turned a blind eye as they normally do; to the erection of a building. However, if provision is made for relocation, they should honor such provision. On the other hand, the owner of the building can be paid valuation amount for the property, so that, he can relocate elsewhere, similar to the people at Argyle.
    With regards to the area, the bridge will definitely satisfy people from top Vermont who work lands over the Francois, Gas Hill and higher areas and my converted church brothers and sisters. However, we have a broader problem, We need to fix Breakaway above Hardy shop going on to Nimble for the bridge to be more meaningful, Also, the whole Francois Road from above Poto is extremely dangerous, when it rains, we have breakaway there also. Francois road is always breaking away around and above the area of Hazelwood, sometimes it is so bad that the road is blocked. Hence, I do hope this is an ongoing project.
    It shows that politics is destroying SVG, because such simple matters one would have thought could be settled without the diatribes of politics. There ought to be more concentration on the provision of jobs, the eradication of AIDS, the control of corruption, the control of crime, teenage pregnancy, justice and equality and the upliftment of all Vincentians.
    Hope this matter is soon resolved in the interest of all through compromise.

    Alwyn Westfield is Professor of Political Science at Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College.
    Former Labour Candidate for South Leeward 1989,1994

    Posted by Alwyn Westfield | February 9, 2012, 10:32
  20. lol yall sad…..As far as im concerned he try a thing and now he’s in the spot light…Normally when u squat, u go in a area like diamond and stay under the radar……so i go and build a house on land jus like that without paying for it, now i want not only the compensation for the materials i bought, but for land to be bought for me….seen, i should probably do this to, to get free land…..and to OLBAP, if we dont have this law bullsh*tery, and relied on morals, we all would suffer. Since Morals are generated by what the society say goes, so in our society its moral to have women to vote and dress how they want, but in the middle east, to a extent parts of egypt, its morally acceptable to have women under ’nuff’ layers of clothes and to keep them powerless….so you decide

    Posted by Soulja | February 9, 2012, 11:16
    • SOULJA you are confused. Moral is spiritual. Law is about punishment. Morals is about forgiveness and love. We need laws for social and civil life. But there are times when we have to look beyond the law and estol love. Read the bible. Take for example when the woman caught in wrong of adultery she was brought to Jesus. Te law required the woman be stoned to death. Did Jesus condoned her death as was required by the Law? No! He asked the question ‘which one of you without sin cast the first stone’. What was Jesus doing here? Jesus that the very persons who were demanding her death was guilty of breaking the same law they wanted to use. The woman was just a scape goat to get back at Jesus. So he forgave! He saved her life from the very law that demanded it. He did this by asking the same person who were asking for the woman death to cast the first stone but asking ‘the one who is not guilty of breaking the law cast the first stone’.

      You see there are time when we have to looking into the circumstances and determine what is the greater purpose. Sometimes it is to apply the laws Yes!. But, other time is is to apply the Law of Love(morality). Romans 6:23 says: The wages of sin( trangression of the law) is death but the gift of God(grace/forgiveness) is eternal life’. This is what morality is about. If God had use and apply the law of sin,all of us would go to hell. Morals are not generated by what society says or do. Moral are generate by what God says. Society says ‘destroy your enemies’ God say ‘ love your enemies, do good to those who willfully use and procecute you’. This is the morality I am talking about. In this case, I am saying that the law of love should supercede that squatting law. Because if we apply this law, in all fairness, then we will have to displace every single family now living on squat land. Are we willing to do that? If No, explain why? So my recommendation in this case is to demonstrate love to this man and do what is right and moral as a demonstration of love. Godly love.

      Posted by OLBAP | February 10, 2012, 07:47
  21. I cant seem to understand this situation and the responses to it. But i gather this much from the information being communicated:

    1. A man built a house on crown land which he and his family occupy. Nothing wrong with that.

    2. The gov’t want there land now due to a bridge to be constructed.

    3. the Gov’t is going to compensate him for the cost of the house (not the land coz he dont own the land) and still alow him to remove the building materials from the house.

    4. Along with that the Gov’t has allocation to assist with the movement of the dwelling house to a new location.

    5. The chief engineer working with the Cheif surveyor would have identified suitable lands which i assume are crown lands for him to locate but he dont want that he wanted another piece of land which is privately owned and wants the Govt to pay for it.

    6. To assist with the moving of the house and all the “bassa bassa” the Gov’t is willing to pay the cost of rental for a house in the same area for 6 months. But according to him, ” he cant really deal up with no landlord thing”.

    So after all is said and done he decided not to move.

    Putting politics aside, did i miss anything?

    Posted by John | February 9, 2012, 11:42
  22. OLBAP, my MIND is working PERFECTLY on this issue, so if you are amaze by the SENSE that I am making, I THANK U.

    That said; I know what I am saying and I will say it again. The government has treated the squatter beyond fairly.

    He was given the opportunity to live in a rented home for six months and a piece of land was secured for him to rebuild his home. Moreover, he was given the time and opportunity to take whatever materials from his current squatting dwelling to help in the rebuilding of his home. However, the NDP Representative for South Leeward, Nigel Stephenson, TOLD him not to MOVE.
    Not only did he NOT MOVE, he expanded and upgraded his dwelling, which he knew was going to be demolish.
    Now, why would the NDP REPRESENTATIVE of South Leeward, Nigel Stephenson, tell this squatter NOT to MOVE when he knows that the BRIDGE is GOING to be built on the spot where the dwelling is located?

    The people of Francois and Vermont have been calling for the building of this BRIDGE for over 25 years and it took this ULP government to secure the funds to fulfill this much needed wish of the community. Unlike previous governments, this ULP GOVERNMENT has KEPT their PROMISE to the people of VERMONT/FRANCOIS.

    Clearly, the NDP does not BELIEVE in NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT or NATION BUILDING. All they care about is to CREATE CONFUSION in the SOCIETY for their own PARTISAN POLITICAL AGENDA.

    I am trying to FIGURE OUT why I should be SYMPATHETIC to this squatter when the government has bend over backwards to help him. I hope that he will put his FAMILY FIRST and take up the OFFER from the government instead of continuing to allow the BACKWARD NDP to MANIPULATE him.

    Nevertheless, like all their other FAILED and SELFISH ATTEMPTS of trying to cause confusion in the country, this too will FAIL. Moreover, Nigel Stephenson has DOOMED his chances of ever retaining that seat by his interference in this matter.

    Again, this Francois/Vermont Bridge is VERY IMPORTANT to the DEVELOPMENT of that community and the nation on a whole, and so the EXPLOITATION of this squatter by the NDP WILL NOT stop the government and the Taiwanese from building this much needed bridge.

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | February 9, 2012, 12:19
    • Prove to us that the NDP does not want that bridge there…. please i beg you

      Posted by vincy in bad shape | February 9, 2012, 12:49
  23. Smooth, the only thing that is CORRUPT is your MIND, courtesy of the BACKWARD NDP..

    Please tell us in what way the government wants the squatter and his family to be homeless.

    Again, the squatter was given 2 years notice by the government to move so that the bridge, which is needed by the community, can be build. The government offered him a rented house for six months for he and his family to live in, while he rebuild his home on the land that the government secured for him and his family, and he refused.

    Moreover, he was given the opportunity to take whatever he wanted from the structure that he had built to use for his new house. On top of that, he was to receive $20,000.00 to help rebuild the house.

    This squatter is lucky that it wasn’t the NDP in OFFICE, because his STRUCTURE would have been DESTROYED LONG TIME AGO, because that is what happened to squatters who did not move when the NDP was the government of the day.

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | February 9, 2012, 12:33
  24. John, you MISSED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, because your assessment of the situation is right on TARGET.

    Frankly, anyone who is DEFENDING or SUPPORTING this person when he has refused to move is clearly doing so mostly because of PARTISAN POLITICS.

    You know what, this SQUATTING CULTURE, which has been ENCOURAGED by the then NDP government, seems to be a financial winner for the squatters.

    Nevertheless, if the then NDP in government were still in office, that structure would have been demolished long time ago. Therefore, the expansion of his house would not have taken place if the NDP were in office. The history is there to support the point that I have made.

    As I said, this ISSUE will DIE just like all the NOISES that the NDP have tried in their attempt to divide the country.

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | February 9, 2012, 13:10
    • Ok so since i am spot on, does anyone on this forum know of any available crown lands that i can go and build a house on. The land must fit these requirements:

      1. The Gov’t must have intention to use it for a captial project to benefit the public at some point.

      2. It must be close to the road so that i wont have to walk very far from the vehicle or a minivan to get to the house.

      3. I must be given free water and light.

      4. In the event that is has to be utilised by the gov’t, the Gov’t must pay me for the building, the property and also secure a new location for me to move to that will fit the already stated conditions.

      Posted by John | February 9, 2012, 14:17
  25. THE LONGER I LIVE ,THE MORE I REALIZE THE IMPACT OF ATTITUDE ON LIFE .THIS MAN LIVES THERE FOR ALMOST 11 YEARS THIS COMES AS RENT TO OWN,WHAT DOES POLITICS HAS TO DO WITH THIS FAMILY OBTAINING A PIECE OF LAND TO SETTLE WITH HIS FAMILY,YOU WILL DO THE SAME IF YOU LOVE YOUR FAMILY,WE VINCENTIANS NEEDS TO CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE IT IS IMPORTANT THAN FACTS,IT IS IMPORTANT THAN THE PAST, THAN EDUCATION, THAN MONEY ,THAN CIRCUMSTANCES,THAN FAILURES,THAN SUCCESS,THAN WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OR SAY OR DO.IT WILL MAKE OR BREAK A LEADER OR A HOME,WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST,WE CANNOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT PEOPLE WILL ACT IN A CERTAIN WAY,WE CANNOT CHANGE THE INEVITABLE,LIFE IS 10% WHAT HAPPENS TO US AND 90 %HOW WE REACT TO IT .AND SO IT IS WITH YOU THAT WE ARE IN CHARGE OF OUR ATTITUDES.PLEASE LEAVE THIS FAMILY ALONE ,WE ARE ALL VINCENTIANS,WHERE IS THE LOVE FOR THE POOR WELL HE IS A POOR MAN TRYING TO MAKE ENDS MEET FOR HIS FAMILY AND PLEASE LEAVE POLITICS OUT

    Posted by CONCERN | February 9, 2012, 14:52
  26. CONCERN, SQUATTING on GOVERNMENT LAND is not the same as OBTAINING a PIECE of LAND. If your idea of OBTAINING a PIECE of LAND means SQUATTING on LANDS that you did not PURCHASE, then yes, he “OBTAINED” it.

    That said; I SUGGEST that you go and TELL the NDP and NIGEL STEPHENSON to LEAVE POLITICS OUT of this issue. They are the ones who BROUGHT POLITICS into the EQUATION by TELLING the MAN NOT TO MOVE when the GOVERNMENT OFFERED him FREE RENT for 6 MONTHS while he build the house on the piece of land that was SECURED for him.

    By the way, the NDP said they are going to PROTEST in front the TAIWANESE EMBASSY over this MATTER. Now what does the TAIWANESE has to do with this issue?

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | February 9, 2012, 15:47
  27. VincyPowa, pay back the money

    Posted by Peter | February 9, 2012, 17:18
  28. This is my final post on this subject. I think we have exhausted all the arguments on this on. The government will do what it wants to do.
    I want to end up in a parablictic note which we can apply to this situation. Here goes: Some people love dogs. There are two type of people who love dogs. The first type of people only love dogs that they own. They love their dog, because the dog is obedient to their becon call. They whistle and the dog comes running. The dog will defend them with their life. Nothing they do wrong will offend their dog. So they love their dog.

    The other type of people that love dogs are those who love all dogs. They love dogs because they are God’s creature. Their love for dogs is unconditional. They just love dogs and will speak out against any ill treatment of dogs, whether they own them or not.

    The man who love his own dog is about to park his car in his driveway one day. In the middle of the road to his garage is a dog. He looks at the dog and recognises that this dog is not his dog. This is his drive way. This dog has absolutely no LEGAL right to be laying in the middle of his driveway, preventing him for parking his car. So he gets mad. He steps out of his car and he shouts to the dogs: THIS IS MY ROAD. BY LAW, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE LAYING IN MY ROAD. PREVENTING ME FROM PARKING MY CAR. MOVE YOU DIRTY DOG! The dog tries to move but can’t. Its legs are broken. The man, undetered by the dogs incapacity to move get a piece of stick and starts to beat and kick the dog off his driveway and off his property. He has no love for such dogs. After all, It is not his dog so why should he. The man has the right to forced the incapacitated dog off is driveway. But he simple has no compassion in his heart for any dog that is his. So he forcefully appies the law. But no love.

    The man who loves all dogs came home to park his car. There in the drive is a dog. He blows his horn and ask the dog to move. The dog will not. He comes out of his car and notices that the reason why the dog can’t move is because the dog legs are broken. While it would like to move, it does not have the physical resource nor the strength to move. The man has the right by Law to kick the dog off his driveway. But, he is move by a higher law. Yes the dog is wrong to be on the man’s driveway. But he overlooks that. He considered the circumstances and decided that he will forfeit his right and help the dog. After all is passion is the love for dogs. All dogs. So, in compassion for the dog, he rushes into his house. He comes back with medicine and bandages. His resources. He ties up the dogs legs, picks it up and gently places it on some warm sheets at the side of the parkway. He checks in every hour to see that the dog was recovering well. This man’s action is driven by his love for dogs. All dogs.

    Interpretation: There are some people who love people. There are two kinds of people who love people. There are those who love only people who love and will defend them. People on the same political party. People of the same colour( or different colour) same race, etc. They hate people who are not like them. People who don’t support the same political party.

    Then there is that set of people who love all people. It matters not what political party they support. They love people because people are God’s creation. They love people because we are commanded to love everyone no matter how high or low they are……. Yo’all see where I am going with this. FINISH THE STORY BASED ON THE PARABLE ABOVE and apply it to Mr. John’s issue.

    God Bless! Peace and out!!!

    Posted by Olbap | February 10, 2012, 10:58

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