Buildings under construction in the Sophia/Cummings Lodge squatting area will be demolished within two-weeks. This was disclosed on Tuesday by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lelon Saul during an inspection and assessment of ‘A’ and ‘C’ fields Sophia and Cumming Lodge areas particularly the buffer-zone, the Department of Public Information has reported.
According to DPI, during the assessment, several illegal electrical connections were discovered; while some were underground, others ran directly overhead on Guyana Power and Light (GPL) lines. Saul said this particular issue will be handled by the utility company.
The CH&PA CEO explained that though it was announced on Monday that the persons squatting on Government’s Reserve have until January 31, 2018, to remove their structures, those being erected will be dismantled. He noted that the conditions under which these squatters are dwelling are unacceptable, and this is not what the administration wants for its citizens, hence the need to tackle the issue head-on.
Scores of Sophia squatters who were affected by the recent demolition exercise executed CH&PA last week picketed the Housing Ministry calling for more time before their forced removal and more importantly, alternative housing arrangements.
Representing the residents of Sophia squatting area was Clayton Jarvis who came into agreement with the CEO of CH&PA to extend the time given to the Sophia squatters to be removed.
Jarvis, a squatter himself, made arrangements to work together with the CH&PA and the Anti-Squatting Task Force of Constituencies five and six to remove squatters who are owners of house lots but continue to squat nevertheless. He also agreed to police the reserves to ensure that no new structures are erected on the reserves, to provide status updates on applications submitted by squatters and to also facilitate the registration of new applicants who are squatting on the reserves in the two constituencies.
The meeting was called after irate squatters picketed the Ministry demanding answers.
According to Saul, persons were given notices of eviction and the Ministry will not tolerate squatting since it’s illegal. Jarvis stated that all he wants is for the authority to find alternatives for the residents.
Saul is encouraging persons to visit CH&PA and submit their applications for houselots. It was highlighted by the CH&PA CEO that should persons squatting on the government’s reserve be unable to find viable alternatives by January 31, 2018, the agency will continue to work with them to locate suitable accommodation.