Over 100 Region Three residents receive cement, steel subsidy

Over 100 residents of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) have received steel and cement subsidies from the Ministry of Housing and Water to aid in the construction of their homes.

The distribution of these subsidies took place at the Regional Democratic Council office in Vreed-en-Hoop on Monday.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), Sherwyn Greaves spearheaded the distribution process.

One of the beneficiaries receiving her voucher from Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal

The beneficiaries were enthusiastic about the initiative and expressed gratitude to the government for its support in making their dreams of owning a home a reality.

Catharine Singh, a teacher, expressed her gratitude for the support, saying, “Rent is a big expense for me, and I cannot afford it, so I want to thank the government.” 

Catharine Singh, Beneficiary

The mother of two added that the programme would enable her to start building her own home, providing a safe space for her family.

“I had my land for a long time and I couldn’t afford it because of my salary. I tried the banks and they turn me down, so I’m very glad for this initiative,” she said as she received her voucher for steel along with a sling of cement.

Delroy Parke, who received a voucher for two slings of cement, expressed, “I’m feeling really great because it’s a step towards starting my house.” Parke also encouraged young people to take advantage of the initiative.

Delroy Parke, Beneficiary

Meanwhile, Minister Croal revealed that a total of 143 applicants were shortlisted for the programme in the region.  

From that amount, 81 qualified for vouchers that provide the required steel and one sling of cement to commence the construction of their homes, while the remaining 62 applicants qualified for two slings of cement.

Importantly, Minister Croal noted that the initiative will see an injection of over $43 million into the region’s economy.

“What we want to ensure is that we improve the regional economy, so there are suppliers who are from within the region…so you don’t have to leave the region to go to Georgetown to uplift your materials,” the minister underscored.

He also highlighted the significant progress being made in the housing sector through large-scale development projects in the region.

To date, approximately 4,600 individuals have been granted house lots in Region Three, which has significantly reduced the backlog of approximately 14,000 allocations that existed when the government took office in August 2020.

One of the beneficiaries receiving his voucher from Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), Sherwyn Greaves

This has resulted in the government investing billions of dollars in infrastructure works such as road networks, bridges, culverts, electricity and water networks, in housing schemes.

In Meten-Meer-Zorg, $540 million is being spent on development works, $253 million in Stewartville, and $701 million in Leonora.

“That is what we have been doing to ensure that we can make the lives of our citizens better, to ensure that we can respond to your social needs, to provide the opportunity for you and your children to have that space that you can call your own,” Minister Croal told the residents.

Meanwhile, CHPA’s CEO said the steel and cement initiative intends to assist at least 2,500 people in the initial phase, with 500 people benefitting in the first batch.

“This is not a one-off programme, this programme continues forever…we want to ensure everyone has that opportunity to benefit,” Greaves affirmed. The $800 million cement and steel subsidy initiative was introduced by President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali in July last year. It aims to fast-track and cushion infrastructure costs for homebuilders.