Pregnant woman with 8 kids among 60 thrown off Duke St. property

Evicted squatters seek help

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter

Saturday, August 18, 2012

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ALMOST 60 people, including a pregnant woman and her eight children, were yesterday evicted from a private property near the old Jamintel building on Duke Street in downtown Kingston.

Several shacks that provided shelter for the squatters were demolished and their belongings placed on the sidewalk during the operation, carried out by a bailiff, with assistance from the police.

Yesterday’s demolition came less that three months after a police party attempted to carry out a similar operation, but were forced to make a hasty retreat as the angry informal settlers became boisterous.

Oswald Augustus Sherriah, bailiff for the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court, said the eviction was executed after months of discussions with the squatters.

The demolition, however, left several of the evicted persons in tears.

Novia Beckford, 40, the mother of eight, was one of the settlers who cried openly while making a desperate plea for help.
"Right now I don’t have nowhere to go with my children; school is just around the corner and I don’t even have a place to sleep, I need any help that I can get," said the woman who said she was in the early stages of pregnancy.

Janice Ellis, a mother of three, shared similar sentiments, adding that she wanted more time to leave the property but was ‘caught’ by the eviction. "I was doing all I can to relocate from the property, but I just wanted little more time," said Ellis. The woman, with a look of desperation on her face, said she was willing to take any assistance possible.

Meanwhile, Angella Jones said she was aware that the eviction was coming but claimed it caught her off guard.

"Right now any help that I can get I would welcome if anyone is out there can provide some assistance I would be grateful," said Jones.

The bailiff said that, despite the operation, he was still trying to provide assistance for some of the squatters. "As we speak I have been providing transportation to some of the persons who were living on the property," said the bailiff.

Sherriah said that it was because of the help provided why the operation went without any incident.

In June of this year, there was a major stand-off between the police and squatters as officers attempted to carry demolition at the property. One resident at the time claimed that the police and a group of masked men came to the area and attempted to remove them forcefully.





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