Gov’t evaluating land availability to address squatting

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, September 9, 2016

The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CP&HA) is conducting a survey within communities where squatting is prevalent, to find available lands.

Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Valerie Adams-Patterson told the Government Information Agency (GINA) today, that the Department of Community Development has been surveying available lands in communities where squatting is prevalent.

The Minister said that generally the strategy being used is that some of the areas can be regularised. In other cases, “… it’s not environmentally friendly so we have to relocate (squatters),” Minister Adams-Patterson told GINA.

Squatting at Ocean Garden, Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara

Squatting at Ocean Garden, Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara

The minister said the survey is expected to be completed by the end of next month. “We are looking in all the communities where there is no occupancy on some of these lands, some of them we recognise they were not allocated and some were, but persons didn’t pay,” Adams-Patterson explained.

The Ministry of Communities is examining the relocation of squatters in the Sophia and Upper East Coast areas on lands available in Cummings Lodge while in East La Penitence, another squatting community, “We have a plot of land there that we’re developing, ” Minister Adams-Patterson said.

Government’s aim is to not only provide house lots to squatters, but to find housing solutions such as apartment complexes. “We’re looking at apartment buildings, condominiums, some duplexes; we’re also looking at partnering,” said Adams- Patterson.

The Minister explained that she is exploring partnering with Food for the Poor to provide low cost, two- bedroom wooden houses. “We are going to give the squatters first preference,” Adams-Patterson said.

However, the Minister said that it is important for squatters to apply for relocation so that they can benefit from these initiatives. “If they don’t have an application in the system we can’t provide you with a house lot and we’re not only looking at giving you a house lot, but providing housing, which is better for us and also the applicants,” Adams-Patterson explained.

The Ministry of Communities’ 2017 work plan seeks to reposition about 400 squatters who have applied for relocation.

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