Govt in another attempt to resolve land controversy at Sarah Johanna; some squatters refuse to relocate

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Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, engages the squatters (DPI photo)

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall along with Minister of Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, recently met squatters at Sarah Johanna, East Bank Demerara in another attempt to resolve a land controversy there.

Squatters have occupied approximately four acres of transported land owned by Mr. Rafiek Baksh. The owner is seeking the use of his land and has asked the squatters to relocate, but many have been reluctant to do so. In light of this, the Government stepped in to help resolve the issue.

“There is a dispute here involving about 24 families who are squatting on private property. […]  The Government through the Ministry of Housing has offered house lots to these persons who are in occupation of the private property,” Minister Nandlall was quoted by DPI as saying.

But not everyone was receptive to the Government’s offer of an expedited application process. “Unfortunately, they are not all in agreement,” the AG said.

“The Government remains ready to relocate the squatters once they are prepared to be relocated and we have that offer open.”

The AG noted that the Constitution protects the owner’s private property and there is only so much the Government could do. He added that if persons refuse to move it is up to the landowner to consult his attorney and choose whatever legal options are available to him.

Minister McCoy also engaged the squatters and collected information from those who were more receptive to the Government’s offer, DPI reported.

The meeting is a follow-up to an October visit by Minister McCoy and Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Hon. Susan Rodrigues.

During that visit Minister Rodrigues provided the squatters the opportunity to register for house lots.

Mr. Abdool Azim, the power-of-attorney for the landowner, was present at both meetings and produced the transport for the land.