37 House Lots Allocated to Low-Income Families in Berbice

Life for thirty-seven (37) low-income families in the Mahaica-Berbice region (Region Five) has changed for the better, as they are now land owners in the Balthyock Housing Scheme.

This is in keeping with a commitment by the Honourable Susan Rodrigues, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, just two weeks ago.

The lots were allocated during a simple ceremony on Friday at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) office, at Fort Wellington, Region Five, where residents were also presented their offer letters by the Minister.

Minister Rodrigues during her charge noted that providing housing solutions for low-income and vulnerable groups is a major priority for the government.

“We know how much it means to the ordinary Guyanese to be able to own a plot of land and to own a home,” the Minister stated.

She explained that the Balthyock Scheme was initially developed to relocate informal settlers from the sea defense reserve nearby.

Relocation began in 2012 with seven (7) families relocated and households within the block were regularized. However, another portion of the area comprising of thirty-seven (37) lots was not allocated due to the incompletion of infrastructure works.

During an outreach to Blairmont in May, the residents bemoaned the situation to the Minister, who returned two weeks ago, to announce the awarding of a $20 million contract for infrastructure works to develop the area and the resumption of allocations.

Fifteen (15) families who are still residing on the reserve will be allocated, while the remaining twenty-two (22) lots will be distributed to residents within the neighborhood, who have outstanding house lot applications.

The allocation is expected to improve the lives of the allottees, as they will now have access to Certificates of Titles and basic utilities such as electricity and water, as well as roads and other infrastructure.

On Friday the Minister further announced the development of another area close by, which will yield another 300 house lots for residents.

“There are over 3,500 outstanding applications in our backlog, so we have to work assiduously to make house lots available for this region,” the Minister said, citing an ongoing land acquisition process in Region Five.

Also present at the allocation exercise was Member of Parliament and Regional Representative, Mr. Faizal Jafferally, Regional Chairman, Mr. Vickchand Ramphal, Regional Housing Officer, Mr. Krisendat Balkaran, Director of Community Development at the Central Housing and Planning Authority, Mr. Gladwin Charles and other officials.