Some seven families are now left homeless and several others contemplating their next move as the Central Housing and Planning Authority’s (CH&PA) Anti-Squatting Task Force commenced operations, on Thursday morning, demolishing several homes and businesses that were on squatting lands in A Field Sophia.
“It is very unfair, you understand. It got a lot of people who aint get land and the other day they talking bout land, before they give people land…who could afford a house for 1 point something million when you’re not working for that amount of money? Wa you sending people fuh do? thief and rob more because this here wa they doing here is only more criminals they gon bring out on the road!” one frustrated resident said to INews.
The CH&PA said it had issued notices to persons squatting on the dam in Sophia, informing them that they needed to be removed.
However, many of the Sophia residents claimed that they were not given any such notices. In fact, many of them were not around when their homes were being demolished.
“When I come, people from housing break [my home] down…When I tell the man I get a paper from housing he seh the people at Housing stupidy, that they aint suppose to gimme no paper,” a visibly worried man explained.
As the team moved along the road to carry out their demolition exercise, they were met with high hostility by residents of the area who had gathered on the roadway- many of whom were condemning the tactic used by the task force.
The protest of several families saw the team giving them additional time to relocate.
“They say they give me up to Monday. Now where should I go? What should I do from now to Monday? Where should I go? I have an application in there two years now and I cant get no where to go. Why can’t they send me somewhere if they wanna break me down, send me somewhere. Give me some action. Wa I must do?” a tearful family man questioned.
However, Task Force Member, Clayton Hinds, who is also the Chairman of the Liliendaal CDC, explained that Thursday’s demolition exercise is being done in phases.
“Since the Government came into power there have been an increase in squatting structures on the reserves. So those new structures, some of them have been given notices and those are the ones that they are removing today, I understand. The remainder, those who have not been given notices, will be given notices because I understand the overall intention is to have everybody removed from off the embankment,” Hinds explained.
Meanwhile, the team also took down a number of shops that were erected along ‘A’ Field.
One businesswoman, who operates a snackette said the move was an unreasonable and devastating one since she is a single mother with six children to provide for.
The Department of Public Information (DPI) in a social media posting had earlier outlined that “a collaboration between the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, CH&PA, GWI, GPL, the Guyana Lands Survey Commission and members of the Guyana Police Force are currently demolishing abandoned structures, newly erected structures and structures belonging to persons who were given land in A and B Fields Sophia.”
DPI also quoted Hinds as saying that “persons were given two weeks notice before this action was taken. He said that Guyana has enough land for everyone and is encouraging persons to apply for a plot of land.”