The Opposition APNU+AFC wants the government to put a regularisation plan in place for squatters at Success on the East Coast of Demerara and other parts of the country.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a stand-off between squatters at Success and Chateau Margot on the East Coast and the Guyana Sugar Corporation. The state-owned company, Guysuco, wants the squatters off the lands since it has plans to restart cane cultivation in the same areas. But the squatters have been claiming that they have nowhere else to go.
APNU+AFC Member of Parliament Annette Ferguson today said the government needs to show some compassion for the squatters.
“Instead of consultation, the PPP is focused on confrontation. The PPP promised 50,000 houselots to the people and so far have delivered zero houselots and have gone in reverse, throwing off, shooting off, flooding out and removing Guyanese citizens from houselots which they are constitutionally entitled to. The Minister of Housing Colin Croal is powerless, clueless and without any solutions. The APNU+AFC Coalition calls on the government to act with compassion, to meaningfully consults with the citizens in desperate need of housing and to take urgent action to regularize the squatters at Success”, Ferguson said.
Ferguson was the last Minister responsible for housing under the former APNU+AFC government. She said when the APNU+AFC got to office in 2015, there were over 30,000 active application for houselots. That number was reduced by 7000 by the time the coalition left office.
Ferguson said the coalition wanted to give out more houselots, but faced problems with acquiring lands from even the state-owned companies. She said lands were opening up when the government changed.
Meanwhile, the Regional Chairman for Region Four Daniel Seeram also believes that there is a need for regularisation of squatter settlements. He said when one meets with the squatters, there is a much clearer understanding of the reality of their plight.
“Immediately when I went on the ground, and you hear all the conflicting stories that are brought forward by the residents and you hear stories from government officials. Someone was telling these people that it was okay to occupy these lands and I think the main thing to do would be to regularise this area”, the Regional Chairman said.
The Regional Chairman said the situation at Success is unique and therefore some thought should be given to addressing their situation.
The Central Housing and Planning Authority has made moves to have the persons register and make applications for house lots. However, the Housing officials have also indicated that there is no clear timeline as to how soon those lands will be made available.