30 families receive keys to new Great Diamond homes

Thirty families who have been squatting along the eastern side of the Demerara River on Monday obtained keys to their new residences at Great Diamond, East Bank Demerara.

The beneficiaries also received their certificates to apply for electricity, during the handing-over ceremony facilitated by Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal handing over keys to Aleisa Lake-Haymraj and her family

Aleisa Lake-Haymraj is among the group of beneficiaries and expressed that her new environment is way better than her previous living conditions.  

“It feels pretty great for a young woman at the age of 29 to accomplish something like this. It is a great achievement for me, my kids, and my husband. I feel happy; I appreciate it,” an elated Lake-Haymraj told the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Another beneficiary at his new home

Another beneficiary, Indranie Gafoor, 44, was also happy to receive the new house, explaining the various challenges she encountered while living on the sea dam. 

“It is kind of hard there. We do not get water and light…I must say thanks to the Ministry of Housing for this and the help that I received. It will improve my life because I have a little son who is six years old and it will be beneficial for him,” Singh noted.

Beneficiary, Indranie Gafoor

The houses, measuring 30 feet in length and 20 feet in width are similar to the low-income homes and are valued at $5.2 million each. 

Minister Croal highlighted that the event signifies the first process for persons from the river bank who have been able to pre-qualify for houses. 

“We have a programme to relocate persons who are living along that alignment. Many of those persons have been there for many years [and] we have engaged all of those households there. All have to be removed...So similarly, we are moving along in terms of aggressively relocating persons. There are persons who have had their lands identified very close to here. And those persons will be dealt with in another way,” the housing and water minister said.

An inside view of the new house

He explained that the newly relocated area could be deemed as prime, especially since the houses are near the Heroes four-lane highway. This will significantly increase the land value for the beneficiaries immediately.  

The successful beneficiaries will pay a monthly mortgage of approximately $25,000. They can also apply for their Certificates of Title to have ownership of the land.  

A total of 50 of these houses have been built at the Great Diamond location. However, the first 30 houses were pre-approved for the beneficiaries.