Land Acquisition in Progress to Satisfy Region Five Housing Need
Approximately 5,000 acres of land has been identified for the development of new housing areas in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).
Hon. Susan Rodrigues, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, who visited the areas on Friday, explained that the region currently has an application backlog of approximately 3,500 persons and no measures were in place to combat this growing need when the new regime took office.
However, the Ministry is now working along with the (Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) and Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for the purpose of land acquisition. Through the agencies some 770 acres of prime land has been identified at Shieldstown, Rosignol, for which the Minister stated that the MMA has indicated their readiness to begin the acquisition process. Another 53 acres of land under the purview of the MMA has also been identified for residential/commercial lots and high income housing in Fort Wellington; and 2,000 acres of land at Dantzig, which is already outfitted with necessary utilities such as water and electricity.
Meanwhile in the referendum squatting area, the Minister committed to the speedy resolution of ownership issues faced by residents. Some 40 households are occupying the lands, which is currently owned by GuySuCo. She stated that discussions are currently ongoing in this regard for the lands to be transferred to the Ministry. While no permanent solution has been put in place, two routes are being explored: firstly the transferal of over 1,000 acres of land to transform the area into a new housing scheme; or the transferal and regularization of the area specific to informal settlers only.
“If we were to get even half of the lands that we’ve identified to transfer we would be able to satisfy the housing demand in Region Five,” the Minister stated, as she noted that designs for the housing area will begin as soon as the transfer is effective.
Additionally, the Ministry is working to expand the Experiment housing scheme by 1,000 acres. The first phase of the scheme is now 80% occupied and the growing housing demand outgrows the scheme’s capability.
Following the site visits the Minister along with the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Andre Ally, held several community meetings in Blairmont and Bush Lot, where residents were informed of the new developments and given the opportunity to voice concerns in the housing and water sector. A team from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) and the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), were present to assist in the resolution of these issues. Minister Rodrigues also facilitated the handing-over of a number of streets lights, to the Blairmont/Gelderland Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).
The Minister was also accompanied by Mr. Faizal Jaferally, Parliamentary Representative of Region Five and Mr. Krisendat Balkaran, Regional Housing Officer of Region Five.