Edinburgh squatters to vacate govt reserve

─ squatters urged to apply for house lots

By Shaquille Bourne

DPI, Guyana, Friday, May 24, 2019

The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), under the Ministry of Communities, has been challenged by increased squatting in certain areas throughout Guyana. On December last, 40 squatters occupied the government reserve just west of the Cornelia Ida Cemetery in Edinburgh, along the West Coast of Demerara.

Head of the Enforcement Unit at CH&PA, Lester Kitt explained to the Department of Public Information (DPI) the efforts made by the authority to address the squatting situation in Edinburgh.

“Our first engagement [with the squatters] was on January 23, and six other times we engaged them, [but] persons continued to weed, continued to cut bushes and build structures,” the Enforcement Unit Head said.

It was on the 7th meeting with the squatters that eight structures had to face demolition after numerous orders were served to vacate the government’s reserve. However, two structures were left untouched since the occupants included children. Adults in those homes were allotted additional time to relocate to a legal residence. The CH&PA met with the squatters on Thursday, May 23, to seek answers as that period of extension has lapsed.

In an interview with DPI, one of the remaining squatters Karmita Persaud and her mother Radika Singh, who were granted an extension committed to honouring the timeline given by the CH&PA.

The authority is addressing any house lot applications from the squatters with expediency. However, the Head of the Enforcement Unit reminded that squatting is illegal and urged the squatters to be in compliance with Guyana’s laws and to apply for house lots through CH&PA. “We are asking persons to desist [from squatting]”, the Enforcement Unit Head firmly stated.

Images: Cidel Thomas.