Relocated Cane View squatters begin occupying new homes

A number of families that were relocated after squatting for decades in the Cane View (Mocha/Herstelling) area, have begun the process of moving into their newly constructed homes.

Sheldon Allen engaging with Minister of Housing and water Collin Croal, M.P at his newly constructed home

The families were relocated by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to newly developed housing schemes on the East Bank Demerara, equipped with all the amenities that will lead to the enhancement of their overall quality of life.

The moved paved the way for the alignment and construction of the new Eccles to Diamond four-lane road. The families who were in the path of the new thoroughfare were compensated, and allocated free house lots.

Marvin Forde in front of his newly constructed home

Sheldon Allen, 42, has been squatting in Cane View for 26 years with his wife and son. He said that the living condition in that area was deplorable, as it lacked basic amenities such as electricity and water.

Allen, who is a construction worker, now lives in a flat two-bedroom concrete home in Plantation Herstelling. He said the relocation process was smooth.

One of the homes under construction

“We were given three months to build, but I finish in four months because the electricity took a while to set up… soon as I finish, I moved in and I give them the order to break down my place,” he told DPI.

Allen thanked the ministry for allocating him a house lot in a comfortable area.  “This is far better, by far. I prefer here 100 percent. I feel more comfortable and safer here… this area is good, roads, drainage everything is good,” he said.

Marvin Forde constructed a flat concrete home for his family of four utilising the compensation awarded to him. He was squatting for more than two decades in Cane View and is happy that he now has legal ownership of a piece of land.

“I was able to build a home there, but it was ownership of the building and not the land. Coming across here is really good for me and my family,” he said.

He added, “This one [house] got space, I have toilet and bath inside my house… I’m thankful with the little I got and, in the future, I will be able to expand.”      

Last year, the CH&PA engaged 35 families from Cane View on the relocation to prepare for the four-lane road. An agreement was signed and their existing properties were valued at the current market price by the finance ministry’s valuation division.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, M.P visited the Herstelling area and interacted with the residents. He explained that 29 households have so far completed the administrative process for compensation in the valuated sum provided by the valuation division.

He said 26 persons have taken up their house lot allocation- 10 at Plantation Farm and 16 at Plantation Herstelling. Ten households have fully relocated from the area and their old structures were demolished.

Four of the families are awaiting documentation to begin the relocation process and four are refusing to engage with the CH&PA.

Prior to his visit to Herstelling, Minister Croal met with the four residents who are refusing to engage the ministry on the matter. The residents expressed concerns with the compensation package and for their cattle and crops. 

The minister explained that the compensation for cattle and crops are is being processed. He has also invited some persons to the ministry to resolve outstanding matters.

“I want them to understand that what we have committed… we keep re-assuring and we show them that we mean business in terms of the methodology that we have outlined,” Minister Croal said.  

He reiterated that the government is committed to resolving the matter in order to move ahead with the construction of the Herstelling-Mocha Phase of the East Bank Road.