Advancement of housing drive in Linden being held hostage by squatters
Hundreds of families who have been allocated residential house lots in Phase 4, Amelia’s Ward, Linden, Region Ten are being prevented from occupying their lands, as a handful of squatters remain defiant against all warnings and notices from the Ministry of Housing and Water – Central Housing and Planning Authority.
As contractors attempt to execute infrastructure works in the area, which has been earmarked for road networks, they are being met with harsh opposition by a group of persons, claiming to be farmers. In one instance there was a report of workers being assaulted and machinery being damaged.
During a recent visit to the area the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority, Mr. Sherwyn Greaves reiterated that while the Ministry stands ready to work with all citizens, development will not be held up by a few. The issue of squatting at Phase 4, Amelia’s Ward has been a long standing one. However, in May of 2022, the Ministry after outlining development plans for the area, was forced to remove 20 structures from the area which fell in the path of a road. Twenty persons who laid claim to the structures were fully compensated. In addition to this, the Ministry had engaged the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, since some of these persons claimed to have pending applications with that agency.
Following this demolition exercise and subsequent compensation, a significant amount of land clearing was done, however over recent months, another group of persons continue to move into the area, in some instances building new structures while others claimed to own farmlands in the area. An assessment was done by NAREI and a decision was taken to compensate the persons for their cash crops seen on the lands. However, the persons who lay claims to the farms have no documentation for the lands.
This new occurrence has now stalled millions of dollars in infrastructure works from being carried out in the area, which when completed will benefit more than 300 first-time homeowners.
Mr. Greaves, during his visit to the area, also noted that the Ministry has exhausted all efforts, even as the Ministry continues to plea with persons illegally occupying lands in the area to remove.
The agency is therefore reminding persons that squatting is illegal and to desist from erecting structures in the area, as the continuation of such activities will leave the agency with no other alternative but to demolish these structures.