The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has announced that just 19 homes in Timehri North will have to be relocated as the airport runway expansion moves ahead.
Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson met with residents on Sunday and told them that only the 19 homes that are in the direct path of the airport expansion will have to be relocated.
During a meeting with residents, Patterson explained that the mass movement of everyone out of the area would “not be necessary”. Land in the same community has already been identified to accommodate the relocation.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Mr. Patterson made it clear that while the expansion heralded development for Guyana, it should not severely upturn the lives of Guyanese. He stressed that persons who would have dedicated their lives to the Timehri North community should not have to suffer.
The statement from the Ministry said the affected residents will be relocated some 200 metres to the west of their current locations. “Construction on the identified plot of land has already begun and is expected to be completed in 2016. The developed area will be equipped with roads and utilities such as electricity and water while the homes will become the properties of the residents”, the release noted.
“This is the right thing to do,” Minister Patterson said. “If you move someone from his home, you have to ensure that you give something back. In a few years, these will be prime properties. Right now, you might be in this situation and think yourself unlucky but in a few years that feeling will change,” he stressed to the residents.
A number of the residents expressed gratitude and shared that their nerves were calmed since there were threats by the previous administration that the entire community would be removed.
Meanwhile, during a second session with the Timehri North residents, Patterson shared plans for the community. There will be the regularisation of the community which will include stand pipes for improved water access and the rehabilitation of the main road. He said too that there will be improved infrastructure such as roads, water supply, and electricity.
However, Minister Patterson said that while the Ministry will be working towards bettering the community, the residents must also do the same. He reminded them that the ultimate aim is to see the community become registered and he therefore urged them to keep an eye out for squatters.
“I’m not saying that the community cannot grow but I’m saying it must not be a Wild West,” Minister Patterson stressed.