Relocation underway for Cummings Lodge squatters

Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal and other officials at Cummings Park
Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal and other officials at Cummings Park

The Ministry of Housing and Water through the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is currently in the process of relocating eleven informal settlers inhabiting portions of Plot 1767 and 1768 of Cummings Lodge (Cummings Park).

Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal, in the company of Chief Executive Officer of CH&PA, Mr. Sherwyn Greaves and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Andre Ally, today visited the area along with officials from the Community Development, Projects and Enforcement Departments.

Minister Croal stated that the area is earmarked for a new housing project, delivering 190 low-income homes for families and the illegal activity will severely hamper development.

Nevertheless, the Minister highlighted government’s commitment to providing housing for all Guyanese, as he outlined the Ministry’s approach.

“We have been working with persons squatting in this area since August last year and a number of unoccupied structures have been demolished since then. However, the eleven structures remaining are those that were found to have occupants, they were served notices to remove and we have had our Community Development Department working with them,” said Minister Croal.

“They have received their final contravention notices and assistance is being provided to remove them immediately,” the Minister continued.

The notices served requires the informal settlers to be removed by Saturday, April 10, 2021. CH&PA is currently in the process of relocating the squatters to a suitable area within the vicinity.

Initial reports noted that 13 contravention notices were served on 13 structures observed by CH&PA on August 20, 2021.

By August 27, 2020 22 structures were then observed and a demolition exercise was executed on October 13, 2020, leaving 11 occupied structures. A number of Call in Notices were also served and six of the informal settlers have since approached CH&PA. The final contravention notice was served on April 3, 2021.

Based on interaction with the squatters, eight have applications within the CH&PA system, while another three are in the process of formally applying to facilitate the relocation process.

The Minister was also accompanied by a high-level team from the Guyana Police Force including Senior Superintendent of Police Mr. Calvin Brutus, Deputy Commissioner (ag) Mr. Clifton Hicken and Regional Commander of “4A” Division, Mr. Simon Mc Bean.

This he said is to enhance security in the area given the magnitude of the development. Discussions with the officials has pointed to an outpost being placed towards the Aubrey Barker end of the project.