Monday, June 23, 2014

Squatters, with no legal rights, but with permits

After yesterday's post about Kru Town, I was interested to read this article about sea erosion in West Point, which is said to be home to around 75,000 residents, most of whom, among other challenges, have highly insecure rights to their property: 
Mary B said she had bought the piece of land from the commissioner of the township for 11,500 Liberian dollars, about 130 dollars,and built her shop on it. 
According to the Township Commissioner's office, residents in the area are primarily squatters, with no legal rights to the land though it is possible to obtain a Squatters Permit from the administrative office, which grants a certain level of legitimacy to the dwellers.West Point is home to many of Monrovia's disadvantaged people and many cannot afford the city's huge rents, which are fixed in U.S. dollars - 150 for a modest two bedroom apartment. To make matters worse the government does no have public housing available. 
People in the area have always talked about plans by the government to relocate them, but the Public Works Ministry says the government has no such plans to move over 75,000 people.
I've never heard of buying a squatters permit, but that hardly means such things don't exist or aren't actually codified legally in Monrovia or elsewhere, but the Commissioner's statement that the dwellers have no legal rights, just a vague "certain level of legitimacy" is hardly reassuring. 

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