Nine Annandale squatters receive keys to new low-income homes

Nine families who were previously squatting along the sea defence reserve at Annandale, East Coast Demerara (ECD) received the keys to their new homes, marking a significant step towards better living conditions.

On Monday, Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal handed over the keys to the low-income, two-bedroom homes that were built at Annandale New Scheme, ECD.

Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal with the beneficiaries

He explained that the initiative was sparked by a visit made by President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali to the community in September 2022.

Manjanie Roopchand at her new home

At that time, 15 families were informed of the government’s plans to relocate them to a safer and wholesome community. Ten of the families accepted the government’s offer to construct homes for them, while the remaining five opted for lands.

Minister Croal expressed his optimism about the positive impact that the relocation would have on the families, noting that the move will provide a significant improvement in their living standards and well-being.

“Obviously if you compare here to the environment, they were in you will realise this is an upliftment and this brings betterment for them and their families,” he stated.

The families were engaged by commercial banks to source funding for the construction of their homes which cost $5 million each.

After taking up occupancy, the residents will begin to repay their loans, which will run for a period of 25 years. Minister Croal stated that each family will pay approximately $25,000 per month towards their mortgage.

Rajesh Jaipaul and his wife after receiving the keys to their home

The minister also highlighted the government’s efforts to address the issue of squatting and unregulated settlements. He said the administration is currently taking measures to eliminate many of these areas within the system, and is not acknowledging any new instances of squatting.

“So, if there’s anybody who thinks that they can go put up a shack or a structure, and believe that we will incorporate them as part of this we are doing, it will not be so.

“What we are addressing is many of the backlog or those who are within the system for a while,” Minister Croal stated.

The residents expressed gratitude to the government for facilitating the process of ensuring they are afforded the opportunity to have affordable homes in a safe and decent environment.

The new low-income homes

Manjanie Roopchand, while thanking the government for allowing her to own a piece of land and a newly built home, said “this will help me a lot because it’s a better life for my children.”

Another beneficiary, Rajesh Jaipaul, a father of five expressed his elation to have a new home, since it will allow him to provide a comfortable environment for his family.

“It gonna be better because where I use to live when the rainfall, we would flood and we didn’t have light or water. I appreciate what the government is doing,” he said.

Overall, this initiative serves as a testament to the government’s commitment to addressing the issue of squatting countrywide.