As the government works to improve the lives and living conditions of citizens countrywide, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal on Wednesday engaged residents squatting along the sea defence reserve from Herstelling to Grove along the East Bank of Demerara.
The engagement addressed plans by the government to relocate residents to upgraded communities.
Minister Croal committed to completing the relocation process for some 317 households along the sea defence dam in six months. He said the river and sea defence area is a zero-tolerance area.
During an assessment of the areas, 15 structures were identified near the Little Diamond Sea Defence Dam, 49 at Great Diamond, 96 at Grove, 86 at Herstelling, 45 at Farm, and seven at Covent Garden.
“Once we start with the premise that all have to relocate, we will be going well. You have a caring government. You have an understanding president. So, he committed to you that he will work with you. But of course, we have to do this in the confines of our laws and the confines of us being willing recipients to go the extra mile to work with us.
Of the 317 households, some 47 persons have applied for house lots.
Minister Croal informed persons with the necessary documentation, to engage with the financial institutions at the meeting to be advised upon the type of house they can be pre-qualified for, based upon their income brackets.
Importantly, the Minister indicated that, “we have identified a portion in Great Diamond for which, we will immediately for those who can pre-qualify for the houses, we will immediately commence construction of houses.”
Meanwhile, residents welcomed the initiative by the government to be relocated to better communities.
Romona Ally said, “I feel good for this thing that the government doing about the house and land. I’m glad when I heard today that we will get through with something before we leave here. I really appreciate it.”
Vanessa Deonarine expressed that it was a wonderful opportunity for everyone along the sea dam to be relocated and become homeowners.
She added that, “when the rain falls, the place is very muddy like slush and the kids have to go through that every day to go to school.”
James Lamazon stated that he was extremely confident about the relocation process and was willing to work along with the government to fast-track the process.
“It’s an appreciation towards me and towards the movement, they are making to assist people with house and land,” he highlighted.
Jitendra Denanauth said, “It would be a privilege to get a house lot and own your house lot because where we are living isn’t too nice.”
Chairman of the River and Sea Defence Board, Brigadier (ret’d) Gary Beaton noted that the river defence must be cleared and maintained since the dam is a critical infrastructure to Guyana since the country is below sea level.
Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Sherwyn Greaves underlined that persons can indicate their preferences whether they would like to be provided with a house lot or a home.
“We will work on arranging loans through the banks for you to acquire the houses…This process and activity must be done as urgently as possible,” Greaves added.
NDC Chairman, Puneet Jaigopaul also attended the meeting. [DPI]