Agents of the Central Housing and Planning Authority early Thursday morning moved into the Sophia ‘A’ Field area with sledgehammers and a large pool of manpower to demolish houses and structures that have been erected on the government’s reserve.
Owners of the properties were served notices of the Agency’s intention but while some adhered and relocated, others were left in disbelief as the CH&PA made good on its announcement.
The exercise is a collaborative effort between the CH&PA and other agencies including the Guyana Power and Light and the Guyana Water Inc. It also got support from the Guyana Police Force.
It is anticipated to be the first of many exercises as the CH&PA signals its seriousness in addressing the issue of squatting in the Sophia area which also includes Lilliendaal, Pattersen, Turkeyen and Cumming’s Lodge.
The exercise will be rolled out in the B, C, and D Fields initially.
Squatting in the Sophia area has been a problem for several years with previous attempts at curbing the problem under the past and current government.
While some structures will be demolished on spot, owners who are in the process of being regularised and relocated have been given time to do so.
Squatters had been served notices in persuasion to remove from the area to ensure there is order in housing.
Community Representative Clayton Hinds said squatting had ballooned into unbelievable levels in the area and needed to be addressed.
He said it was backward that the government was spending large sums of money to improve lights and roads and would allow disorganized approach to living conditions.
He also explained that some residents felt that the government was taking too long and now that action is being taken, some are singing the praises of the government.
The community rep is calling on the government to ensure that the exercise is not conducted in a piecemeal manner with efforts to ensure it is sustained.
It was not the same for some home and property owners who complained that they had been in the area for several years and it was unfair that they were being removed forcefully.
Some claimed that they were not served notices, much to the disagreement of the CH&PA. Many of the squatters have been offered land in other areas.