Chairman of the Timehri North Development Council Daniel Fraser said that the PPP/C government is provoking a stand – off and a possible civil disruption if it continues with the Airport Expansion Project.
At a press conference hosted yesterday at Side Walk Café, Fraser told reporters that the residents will not remove from the area without a proper compensation package from the government.
Government has made available 350 house-lots at Yarrowkabra so that the residents can remove to make way for the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
However, according to Fraser, the residents will do no such thing, since the government refuses to provide any sort of compensation to them. According to Fraser, at least 2,400 persons live in approximately 400 houses that they have built during the past 50 years, and now government will be bulldozing their homes.
Fraser further told reporters that the very PPP/C government promised to regularize the area where they are currently utilizing and that the process had already commenced when the Housing Ministry conducted an occupational survey.
He denied that they are squatters, since Government assigned house lots to them.
“We are not prepared to move unless there is a compensation for every single tree, every house, every economic activity in that area. The area that they are putting they people, you can’t plant anything there, is sand.”
Meanwhile, legal counsel for the residents, Nigel Hughes made reference to Article 142 of the Constitution, which states that no property of any description shall be compulsory taken possession of unless there is prompt payment of adequate compensation.
In this regard, Mr. Hughes explained that if government goes ahead and take the land, then they will be in breach of the constitution.
Mr. Hughes also revealed that to date, no consultations were held with the residents, despite promises to do so by the government.
“In Guyana in its present state, we believe that the actions of the Minister [Robeson Benn] are provocative, we believe they will not lead to a constructive resolution of the problem,” Mr. Hughes said.
He further explained that the extension of the runway does not require the removal of the residents.
“As far as we are aware, there is no plan to remove the existing prison which is actually closer to the runway….this area is adjacent of the runway, it is not in the path for the extension of the runway….this clearly is not a necessary act to have the residents removed.”
Additionally, another resident who was also present at the press conference, Sherlanda Daniels is of the strong opinion that government wants the land to construct airport hotels.