The government through the Ministry of Housing and Water has served the final notice to five squatters in Cane view/Herstelling (Mocha) who have refused to move from the area earmarked for the new Eccles to Great Diamond Highway.
Minister Collin Croal said extensive work was done to ensure the residents were relocated to developed housing schemes and were compensated based on the market value of their structures.
However, Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton recently visited the area and urged the five remaining squatters on the reserve, to remain, stating that the area is ‘ancestral lands.’
Minister Croal described the opposition’s statement as ‘reckless’, noting that the APNU+AFC is not interested in the development and upliftment of the very people it claims to represent.
“There is nothing new about the thoughtless messaging from the opposition leader… they are not interested in giving the best possible advice so that we can work and build this nation,” the Minister said in a recent interview with DPI.
He explained that the government reserve being referred to is between Mocha and Herstelling and has always been earmarked for infrastructural expansion.
“So, those persons [ the squatters] would have never been able to be regularised or have a document for ownership, as well as to [be able to] apply for utility in terms of electricity and water …”
Minister Croal further noted that the process to remove the squatters was done in a way to minimise living disruption of the families while making sure that homeownership is legally achieved as a means of building generational wealth.
“We have served notices, we have gone to those persons repeatedly and that is why we have moved it to the level of publicising all the steps we have taken so far, so the people of this country can understand where we are at now, so it is not a case where we woke up overnight and we just said tomorrow you must move, its months now and we are going to over a year…. in trying to remedy this situation while improving the lives of our citizens,” he stated.
Some of the residents who were relocated to the Farm-Herstelling housing areas have begun construction of their new homes, while others have already completed their structures.
Updating on the progress of the new Eccles to Great Diamond Highway, Minister Croal said that “the lots are moving well, it is only this one lot that must be addressed.
“Work has started on both ends of the highway, but the squatters are in the middle of the lots, which is impeding completion of the new four-lane highway alignment.”
Minister Croal reminded that the housing sector was not prioritised under the APNU+AFC’s tenure, in fact, the sector was reduced to a department with little funding and no real plans for housing development.
“History will show that [with] all PNC administration little has been done in the housing sector. In fact, little was done during their [last] five-year tenure that they have had [2015-2020] …making people’s lives better, putting people in a better environment and a much more comfortable environment has never been a priority of theirs.” the minister added.
Pointing out the continuous reckless behaviour of the opposition in stymieing the development of communities, Minister Croal said the PPP/C Administration will continue to work with every community to improve the living standard of citizens.
“We are building a One Guyana – so it means that it does not matter your political persuasion, it does not matter your race, your creed; we will come in your community and work with everyone, and similarly when you look at what we are doing at housing, it is for everybody and this is what you will get from every PPP/C government…” the Housing Minister said.
The PPP/C government is committed to fulfilling its manifesto promise of delivering 50, 000 house lots within five years.