Over $2.5B injected into housing development in Region Ten

By Lorenda Cuffie

The housing sector in the mining town of Linden, Region Ten, has seen exponential growth with a significant investment of $2.5 billion from 2021 to 2024, to expedite infrastructure works, construction of housing units and roads in Amelia’s Ward, Wisroc, and Plantation York.

These developmental works have since paved the way for many families to become homeowners.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, handing over Certificate of Title to a beneficiary back in July 2021

Many Lindeners’ living conditions have greatly improved as a result of several interventions, such as the distribution of land titles, house lot allocation, regularisation of squatting areas, and the housing construction support initiative.

Infrastructure works

In order to ensure all the necessary amenities are outfitted in the housing areas, the government invested $356.8 million in 2021 towards the upgrading of several roads (0.42 kilometres of roads) and the construction of 40 elevated houses.   

The total investment for infrastructure works in 2022 was $505.8 million which included 6.11 kilometres of roads.

Meanwhile, 2023 saw an overall investment of $297.7 million for road pavement and road construction (6.98 kilometres), and land clearing works.

In 2024, ongoing projects include works in the Amelia’s Ward squatting area with an investment of $417.6 million, Plantation York with $159.1 million, Fitz Hope with $536.1 million, Amelia’s Ward Phase Four with $127.5 million, and Hauraruni with $77.2 million.

These infrastructure works encompassed the development of road networks, bridges, culverts, electricity, water networks, and land preparation in new areas such as Amelia’s Ward and Wisroc. 

Land clearing works in Plantation York

Notably, the spin-off benefits from these developments have resulted in employment opportunities and boost in transportation services in the region.

In Plantation York, land clearing has commenced paving the way for the construction of young professional homes.

Plantation York has been earmarked as one of the main areas for the 1000-homes project for Lindeners, as part of President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s commitment to expanding the housing programme in the region.

House lot allocation and construction of houses

Since August 2020, a total of 487 residential lots have been allocated. The allocations include one lot in 2020, 349 lots in 2021, 104 in 2022, 19 in 2023 and 14 so far this year.

Some 18 young professionals received the keys to their homes back in May 2022.

Beneficiary of a young professional home, Kenisha Moore

One such beneficiary was Kenisha Moore, a police officer, who noted that it has always been a dream to own her own house.

Another homeowner, Leitisha Lynch, a Medical Doctor, dubbed the initiative as ‘a life changing one’ for young Lindeners who now have the opportunity to become homeowners.

Meanwhile, over 100 allottees who received house lots at Amelia’s Ward Phase Four participated in a lot identification exercise in 2023. Over 100 more allottees participated in lot identification in the housing scheme back in January.

Beneficiary of a young professional home, Leitisha Lynch

This provides the homeowners with the chance to start the construction of their homes.

Meanwhile, the construction of 20 elevated two-bedroom houses is 80 per cent completed at Amelia’s Ward Phase Two. Some $144.2 million is being invested.

Furthermore, over 500 allocations in Fitz Hope and more than 200 in Plantation York will be undertaken this year. 

Regularisation of squatting areas

The government has taken a decisive action in addressing squatting issues throughout Guyana, with a firm stance that new squatting areas will not be recognised.

Communities that were regularised include Block E Christianburg, Wismar [Blueberry Hill], Fitz Hope Conception (Parcel Three to 435), Amelia’s Ward Phase Four, Block 22, Green Valley, Ituni, and One Mile.

The government is also addressing the squatting situation in Plantation Fitz Hope which is hampering the infrastructure work.

An allottee selecting her lot number back in July 2021

Works are advancing to acquire more lands to regularise other areas like Coomacka, Silver Hill, and West Watooka.

This multifaceted approach reflects the administration’s commitment to developing thriving and inclusive communities in Region 10.  

The first 167 families who were squatting in Amelia’s Ward Phase Four signed their ownership documents in March. Some 424 lots are earmarked for allocation there.  

The ownership documents have provided the residents with greater opportunities to access loans from financial institutions for home expansion or embark on entrepreneurial ventures.    

Beneficiary and single mother, Wilma Pigott, who has been living in Amelia’s Ward for the last five years, applied for her ownership document three years ago. 

“I am very excited about receiving my title because I am renting and it is costly. So, getting my own will help me a lot,” she said.

Another beneficiary, Chisara James expressed, “I am very much grateful to the government for this great opportunity. I don’t want to be an illegal squatter anymore…Being a landowner means a lot because it is your name to something. It means so much to me, more than what you can imagine.”

Steel and Cement Subsidy Programme

Lindeners have also capitalised on the government’s steel and cement subsidy programme, aimed to fast-track and cushion the infrastructure costs for homebuilders.

In line with this, 97 families from the region benefitted from the disbursement of these vouchers in 2023.

Very shortly, 28 more steel and cement vouchers will be distributed in the region. 

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues hands over steel and cement voucher to a beneficiary

Residents from the mining town can also look forward to more exciting times since the government has more developments on the cards for the region.

With 33,000 house lots distributed to date, the government continues to prioritise its ambitious housing programme countrywide, ensuring every citizen’s standard of living is uplifted.