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Moonilal promises crackdown on illegal occupants of HDC units
Criminals who break and enter HDC property will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law as Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal introduces a new security system to crack down on illegal occupants. Speaking at his constituency office in Debe, South Trinidad yesterday, Moonilal said the HDC is spending $5 million per month to guard unoccupied housing units yet criminals were continuing to break and enter.
“We are not going to tolerate citizens who breach the law in such an obscene manner. We have over 100,000 persons who have applied for housing and the majority of them are waiting patiently, praying and hoping that they will be facilitated,” Moonilal said. He added that it was unfair that some people will break the locks and move into the houses in such a brazen manner.
Moonilal revealed that an illegal tenant was forcibly removed from 89 Ridgewood Gardens, Golconda on Monday night. The person was handed over to the police after he claimed he had a vision from God to break and enter the HDC house. In response, Moonilal said: “HDC’s security forces will be closely monitoring all units.”
He also said that by the end of the week, security forces from the Land Settlement Agency and the Estate Management and Business Development Company (EMBDC) will be working with the HDC to monitor State property. “We know that the T&T Police Service is stretched so HDC will increase security patrols. I am trying to create a more functional national security programme for lands and housing. We are going to synchronise and harmonise the use of all security agencies and forces within the ministry so we will not have to depend totally on the police,” Moonilal said.
Meanwhile, HDC’s managing director Jearlean John said over 20 houses have been illegally occupied within recent times but all occupants were evicted. John said that the HDC planned to prosecute offenders in the future. She said in the past HDC evicted illegal tenants without filing charges. John explained that HDC has to spend between $45,000 and $60,000 to repair a damaged unit after it is broken into. She added that signs will be posted warning trespassers of legal action.
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