Region Nine housing programme to provide jobs, stimulate Amerindian village economies
Amerindian communities within Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) are set to benefit significantly from the government’s housing programme being rolled out in the Lethem township.
On Saturday last, the first 100 beneficiaries of the Lethem Housing Support
Programme signed their agreements with the Central Housing and Planning Authority
(CHPA) to move forward with the construction of their homes.
This was followed by the signing of contracts with the villages of Surama and
Kwatamang, North Rupununi for the supply of materials- timber and clay bricks.
Senior Councillor Bertrand Allicock, who signed the contract on behalf of Surama Village to provide the wood, commended the government for extending its housing initiative to the hinterland.
He said that apart from realising homeownership for many, the programme
will help to stimulate the local village economies since the materials that will be used to construct the homes will be sourced from the villages.
“It’s a good initiative. It generates income for the people, create job opportunities for those who are not fortunate to have job elsewhere,” he told the Department of Public Information (DPI).
Allicock explained that while the contract was signed under Surama Village, all five of the villages in the Annai District will benefit.
“All the villages will have a certain amount of quota they will have to provide for the Lethem programme…The people are pleased about it, especially the men they will be closer to their families and not have to go out seeking jobs. This is a step in the right direction.”
Toshao of Kwatamang, Davion Moses said his village will be supplying the clay bricks for the programme. He said the initiative is a big plus for his village since the residents will have opportunities to earn an income.
“I’m happy for programme because in the region we don’t normally have many opportunities like this so now, from the groundwork until the completion of the homes. the people and the region will benefit,” he said.
The Lethem Housing Project was announced by His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali back in August. The $600 million programme will see the government contributing $1 million each to 600 low-income homeowners to mitigate the cost of their home construction. The commercial banks will finance the $2 million for the prospective homeowners.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal highlighted the spinoff benefits of the programme since each of the units will require some 4,000 clay bricks and a large quantity of wood.
“So, $ 3 million per unit will be circulated right within your region. This will augur well for the region, this will auger well for the villages. this will auger well for the people,” he emphasised.
The first 100 homes are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023. Minister Croal impressed upon the contractors to ensure the delivery of quality materials in a timely manner.
The minister also used the opportunity to encourage villages to utilise every available opportunity to upskill and reskill themselves, noting that “opportunities abounded for skilled individuals.”
Approximately 500 house lots were distributed to residents of Lethem over the past two years. To date, the government has allocated close to 19,000 house lots to Guyanese countrywide.
CHPA’s Chief Executive Officer Sherwyn Greaves, Regional Chairman Brian Allicock and Mayor of Lethem, John Macedo were also at the event.