Squatters of Cane View in the East Bank Demerara community of Mocha are calling on the Housing Ministry to halt its plans to demolish their homes which are close to the area where the new Eccles to Great Diamond Four-lane Highway is being built.
Some 35 homes are to be removed from the area. The government has offered to relocate the squatters to the nearby villages of Farm and Herstelling where they are being offered land to purchase.
While some of the residents have indicated that they are open to the offer, others said they are concerned that no provisions have been made for their farming activities.
Many of the squatters have been using the land that they occupy for farming purposes to earn a living income.
The Ministry of Housing moved into the area today to begin the demolition exercise, but the residents objected and brought the planned activity to an end. They complained that the entire situation appears rushed.
One squatter, Roxanne Allen, who also rears cattle in the area said she has been living in the area for 30 years and she simply cannot move herself and her livelihood without a proper plan in place.
“Well, them places you can’t do no business, you can’t carry your cattle with you, you can’t mind anything you can’t open shop you can’t do business. So, I said I am a business person because at least my cow is business for me, and this is how I live and this is how my children go to University, and that is how they start nursery to university. So, I told them personally I can’t move from here because there’s nowhere to put me”, she complained.
Another squatter, Mark Gordon, who has spent the last 25 years in the area said he knows if he moves, he will be losing everything.
“Well, we have to die because we are not giving up this land because they have nothing better for us. They say they are going to give us farmland further in Mocha and that they building all these roads and schemes and flooding out, blocking out all the trench and flooding out. So, how are we going to move from here and go in the flood? We can’t move from here and go in flood, this is the best land in Mocha, so what is moving off here to go and do. I minding my livestock behind there to go and punish nowhere else”.
One other squatter, Teon Levy said that the Ministry has not had any meaningful consultation with them.
“When the Minister came he stood right over there. I could take off the footage from my system to show since he never had any conversation with anyone, where he sees he put in the media that he issued a final warning, he never had any talking with anyone.”
The man said that if the Government wants to resolve the matter, all voices need to be heard and proper arrangements put in place for them.
The new Eccles to Great Diamond four-lane highway will be linked to Mandela Avenue – Eccles four Lane Road.
The Government is hoping to complete the project within the coming months.