No relocation for Conservancy Dam squatters

probe found residents pose no threat
– Broad and Lombard streets relocation programme to continue
– programme in line for Success squatters

Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal has said the Government has no plans to relocate more than a dozen families residing along the Conservancy Dam in Canal Number One Polder, Region Three.

The Minister said the families have been there for decades and a recent assessment revealed that their presence did not affect the integrity of the dam, nor were they in imminent danger.

Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal

He noted that the residents are “not directly on the conservancy it is on the east of the conservancy and it is not directly affecting the conservancy and the dam of the conservancy.

“The Ministry of Public Works as well as the Central Housing and Planning [Authority] team visited that area and have already identified that the area is not affected by those persons.”

Minister Croal made these statements during the 15th Sitting of the National Assembly on Monday in response to questions posed by Opposition Member of Parliament Hon. Sherod Duncan. MP Duncan asked why provisions were being made for the Conservancy Dam squatters if they were living there illegally.

Minister Croal and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Hon. Deodat Indar, in late August, had visited the community to conduct assessments, following an earlier visit by President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

Subsequently, provisions were made to provide some residents with first-time access to potable water and electricity from the utility companies.

A section of houses along Conservancy Dam, Canal Number One Polder, Region Three

Moreover, Minister Croal said the Government is actively working on a relocation plan for squatters in Success, East Coast Demerara on lands owned by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). The Minister made this statement in response to MP Duncan’s queries about the provisions for these squatters.

Squatters began occupying the land some months back, which resulted in thousands of cane varieties being destroyed and the potential loss of billions of dollars in earnings. GuySuCo has been seeking the removal of the squatters to utilise its land as the Government seeks to revitalise the sugar sector.

Additionally, Minister Croal said the Broad and Lombard streets squatters’ relocation programme is continuing.  A $36 million relocation and resettlement project saw 20 families receiving keys to new homes in Prospect, East Bank Demerara in February. It was funded by the CH&PA and Food for the Poor Guyana. The remaining 31 families are expected to be given houses in Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara.