55 Hope Estate residents to soon get land titles/transport after long wait
Some 55 residents of Plantation Hope Estate Scheme-Cum Annexes, East Coast Demerara, will soon be receiving their titles or transport documents for lands they have been occupying for decades.
On Saturday, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, M.P, led an outreach at the Hope Estate Compound, to begin the land verification process. A team of technical personnel from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) was at the location, assisting with the verification of residents’ documents.
Minister Croal said that the issue was brought to his attention during a recent visit to the area, where a number of residents vented their frustration of not having legal documents for their lands. Minister Croal explained that based on the information he received, the matter dates back since in the 1970s, and the lands are now being occupied by children and grandchildren of the first sets of occupants.
He told the residents that the PPP/C Government is committed to addressing the issue by ensuring that the occupants of those lands are given their legal documents so that they can move forward with plans they have to upgrade or construct their homes.
“Immediately once we can verify all the information provided in terms of the persons who are occupying the lands, and once there are no contention of the house, we will process your certificate of title, and as I said, we have about 55 houses in our system for which no title has been processed for the lands,’ the minister said.
The housing minister noted the land titling process will commence within the new week for those properties with no challenges or dispute.
Additionally, back then, the former President Janet Jagan had promised some of the residents who were relocated to the area they will only be charged 1$ for the processing of the titles. Minister Croal said that commitment will be honoured for those persons, while the others will have to pay the usual fee of $92,000.
Additionally, there are a number of residents who received house lots from the CHPA within the area and are still awaiting titles. Minister Croal also committed to having those titles processed and completed in a timely manner.
Further, he announced that CHPA is in the final stages of acquiring lands for allocation within the area this year.
Malinie Bhola, a resident, expressed her satisfaction with the process and is anxiously awaiting her title, so that she will be able to benefit from the core home initiative being rolled out by the CHPA. The thirty-two-year-old mother of five said she and her husband have been occupying the land for the past 18 years and have been living under poor conditions with their children. She said the document will allow her to provide a better home for her family.
Rajkumarie Budhu showed up on behalf of her sixty-nine-year-old father, Parasram Budhu who has been awaiting his document for decades. “We are happy that finally today, my father can get his title and everything will go so good…I born and grow here and we even plant coconut and all the stuff…we are very thankful,” she noted.
The Hope Estate Scheme was originally a Sugar Plantation which was bought by Mr. Walcott, a British investor who started coconut cultivation. In 1955, the Sankars bought the area from Mr. Walcott and continued coconut cultivation.
The Late Prime Minister, Forbs Burnham then bought the area from the Sankars in the early 1970s and formed the Hope Coconut Industry Ltd. The estate was managed by a Board until his death in 1985. NEOCOL (National Edible Oil Company Ltd) then took over its management during the period 1987-1992.
The PPP/C government took over the area in 1992 and eventually phased out the coconut cultivation. Portions of land were rented to private farmers for cultivation of cash crops.
After the flooding in 2005, some 40 affected residents from Mahaica were relocated to a portion of the area developed into a scheme with 88 lots. The Government & Food For the Poor built houses for the affected persons. In 2009, the scheme was extended with a further 270 lots.