Minister Edghill meets Albouystown residents with illegal structures on the Government reserve to assist with their relocation
– says priority will be given to those persons with previous housing applications
The Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister of Public Works, on Tuesday afternoon invited residents of Albouystown, who had built illegal structures on the Government reserve and were in the path of the Government’s $1.4 billion, Enhancement Project along Independence Boulevard and Cemetery Road, to a meeting at the ministry.
The persons invited to meet the Minister were those whose names were previously recorded by the Ministry’s team on the ground. Some persons already had housing applications, while others applied the day after Minister Edghill and his team would have visited, which was not amongst any commitments made by the Minister, nevertheless, today he accepted the applications and advised that it is now a matter for the Ministry of Housing and Water.
“I counted how many apartments are there, including the man that got the boxing gym, I [already] counted them. We have to be careful and a little sensitive, [because] if we had allowed it, a few people wanted to take advantage of the situation, [and] it will not be allowed,” Minister Edghill said, adding that his decisions were based on principles.
“This meeting is for the people who have not moved and I would like to hear what are the reasons, what are the issues, and why you have not moved.”
Many of the residents responded that they had nowhere to go, however, the Minister advised that once they were allocated land, based on what category they fell into income-wise, then some assistance could be forthcoming.
“I am laying down some clear principles, the land that you are dwelling on belongs to the state, it is Government reserve, whether you are here 30 years, 40 years, 50 years. Consult with any lawyer in the country, or you can take a firm of lawyers, nobody can get prescriptive rights on Government reserve, you can get prescriptive rights from your family land,” The Minister made clear.
“I am not offering anybody no money, nothing as an inducement to move, fair enough, the human factor is that people were living there because they did not have any land, nowhere to go, now, you apply for your place to move, and they are factors in moving and when that time comes and you have to move, I am not offering anybody inducement to move, but if there is assistance that is required, whether it is the truck or workmen to move the material and be re-erected wherever, we will try to see what can be accommodated”.
Multiple applications have already been submitted to the Ministry of Housing on behalf of the residents.
Minister Edghill has reiterated that the project will continue and that there is no turning back. “Nobody is stopping it, this is not about a group of people, this is about national development, and I made that very clear on the afternoon we launched the 1.8-kilometer project.”