The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) regularised over 750 informal settlers residing in Regions Four and Five last year while 59 persons squatting on government reserves were relocated.
This was revealed by Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal during a recent interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI).
“This is an ongoing exercise. There are a number of variables that we have to look at. First of all, we have to decide on what is going to be the usage of the area and after that we make the determination on whether to relocate or regularise,” Minister Croal explained.
The Housing Minister emphasised that the PPP/C government has embarked on a national housing plan that caters for the housing needs of all Guyanese and therefore, there is absolutely no need for persons to engage in illegal land occupation.
“There is no benefit from that because you will not be able to benefit from basic utilities in a formal way and no infrastructure works will be done and there is also the issue of hygiene,” the Minister noted.
Last year, the housing ministry launched the Guyana Strategy for Informal Settlements Upgrading and Prevention, a programme which seeks to address and ultimately, eliminate squatting across the country.
The programme is being executed in partnership with the UN-Habitat, the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
Minister Croal explained that the programme will result in squatting being dealt with in a more structured way, taking into consideration the increased number of squatter settlements across the country given the influx of migrants into the country.
According to statistics compiled by the CH&PA last year, 15 per cent of the Guyanese population, the equivalent of just over 110,000 people, are living in informal settlement communities, while another 27,500 households are known to be residing on state lands in 231 informal settlement communities.