Construction of first 100 houses at Silica City to start this year – President Ali

─ says plans in pipeline to address squatting along Soesdyke-Linden Highway

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has announced that his government will begin constructing the first 100 houses for Silica City in the vicinity of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway this year.

“We’re starting the construction of the first 100 homes in this planning area,” President Ali announced during a community engagement along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, Wednesday afternoon.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali during a community meeting in Kuru Kururu village Wednesday afternoon

The new city is the brainchild of President Ali during his tenure as Minister of Housing and Water back in 2013.

Some 3,800 acres of land have been identified for the immediate development of the housing project.

It will be the first modern smart city. The idea was based on the need for Guyana to have an urban centre that is complementary to the existing capital city, Georgetown.

The new city aims to tackle the issue of non-coastal urban settlement development and the challenges of climate change and sea-level rise.

Addressing highway squatting

Importantly, President Ali also announced plans to regularise certain areas of the highway and develop housing schemes with appropriate infrastructure to eliminate squatting there.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali engaged children during his walk-through exercise at Yarrowkabra Wednesday afternoon

“Let me tell you something very clearly, we have to stop the squatting on the highway. We are going to regularise areas… we will move all of the squatters into a planned housing development.

“By the end of the first quarter, we are going to identify three areas along the highway,” Dr Ali added.

He said the move is aimed at addressing the problem of informal settlements in the area, which can be a safety hazard for both residents and commuters.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali engaged residents during his walk-through exercise at Yarrowkabra Wednesday afternoon

The new housing developments will include essential services such as water and electricity, and increased police presence to improve the living conditions of residents.

“In relation to roads… we have Minister [Deodat] Indar here, they are going to look at all the roads in the community. And they are going to come up with a plan in the regularised area where we can put concrete roads, with the involvement of the community,” the head of state said.

He added that more schools with adequate staff, health centres and other community facilities will be established to improve the standard of living and promote economic growth.

The housing plan and regularisation of areas along the highway is a crucial step in achieving the goal.

The government is committed to working with the communities and stakeholders to ensure that this plan is implemented in a way that benefits everyone.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali engaged residents during his walk-through exercise at Yarrowkabra Wednesday afternoon

“We can’t have squatter settlements if you want better for our children, for yourself, you can’t go to the bank with a squatter land. So, let’s work on getting you in a legally planned area,” Dr Ali told the residents.

Meanwhile, during the walk-about exercise, President Ali held fruitful engagements with residents of Yarrowkabra, Circuitville and Kuru Kururu, where he listened to their concerns and found on the spot solutions. He was accompanied by Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal; Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall; Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy; Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn.