Stop land grabbing – CH&PA
―“Squatting is prohibited” – Min. Ferguson
DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 27, 2020
The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has reiterated its call for citizens to desist from the illegal act of occupying vacant lands.
During a media conference on Monday, Minister with responsibility for Housing, the Hon. Annette Ferguson said that during the previous week the agency became aware of persons occupying empty lots in Sophia and Cummings Lodge.
“These lands were distributed by the previous administration before the elections in 2015 and that administration did not follow the necessary guidelines needed to acquire the lands. It was not until this government came into office post-May 2015 that we were able to engage both the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and Lands and Survey to have the requisite procedure followed. The lands were handed over to CH&PA, and the agency paid for those lands.”
According to Minister Ferguson, representatives from the CH&PA visited the areas where the residents were informed about the agency’s position. She added that officials were deployed to Sophia to address the concerns of past applicants and conduct on-the-spot registrations for interested persons.
“We understand the need for people to be properly housed, but it must be done in a systematic and a structured way… the CH&PA is working with agencies such as NICIL, Guyana Lands and Survey and by extension, GUYSUCO to get lands so that our people can be properly housed,” Minister Ferguson emphasised.
She also noted that the same approach utilised to address the matter of residents squatting at Broad and Lambert Streets would be introduced across the regions. Those 51 families were relocated by way of a court order.
“We were able to step in and so far, assisted 20 families. In collaboration with the Food for the Poor, we have identified lands and constructed houses at Prospect, and those will be handed over to the families tomorrow,” the housing minister assured.
Meanwhile, CH&PA’s Chief Executive Officer Lelon Saul said the matter of informal settlements would have to be addressed since it has implications for future infrastructural development.
“In time we will have to take the necessary action to ensure that squatting does not compromise future development,” Saul stated.