THE Prime Minister said a certificate of comfort (CoC) is not a licence for anyone to squat in any part of TT.
Dr Rowley made this point when he addressed a CoC distribution ceremony at the New Jersualem Church in Enterprise, Chaguanas on Friday. During the ceremony, 15 residents of Enterprise received certificates.
Rowley, who is also Planning Minister, recalled that when he held that portfolio around 2001 in the Patrick Manning administration, the squatter regularisation programme was being driven by the Government with help from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Rowley said Government was able to use US$40 million from the IDB "to bring about some significant improvements in a number of communities across Trinidad in what we called the squatter regularisation programme."
Today, he continued, the programme "is now a standard aspect of the housing solution."
Referring to earlier comments by Housing Minister Edmund Dillon, Rowley said,"A CoC is not a facility available to any boldfaced person who wants to go and squat on a piece of land."
He explained that it is a recognition of those people who were already occupying a piece of land. He added that Parliament passed legislation to limit squatting in that there was a period in which people needed to apply for CoCs.
Rowley also said the beneficiaries of this programme are households that do not earn more than $8,000 per month. I
nformation provided by the Housing Ministry said since the PNM assumed office in September 2015, Government has distributed approximately 700 Cos, 162 statutory lease agreements and one deed of lease to deserving beneficiaries.
The ministry also estimated that the number of squatters has increased from 23,000 families in 1998 to 55,000 families now.