600 house lots to be developed, distributed on Essequibo Coast – President

…as Police called in to probe false receipts for sale of Govt lands

President Dr Irfaan Ali has called on Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) housing officials to immediately address the claims of false receipts having been issued to residents in the region for the sale of house lots.

President Irfaan Ali presenting Esann Garraway with his land title

This came about after more than 18 persons who paid for their land at the Anna Regina office complained that the former Regional Housing Officer had allegedly duplicated a number of receipts, but payments for the lands are not part of the official records of the department.
On Wednesday, residents raised their concerns with President Ali and a team of Government officials during an outreach at the Regional Democratic Council building in Anna Regina.
Regional Housing Clerk Seewnarayan explained that she became aware of the matter when she joined the department in 2018.

After waiting for years under the APNU/AFC Government, Pratima Devi Sookdeo received her land title from President Irfaan Ali on Wednesday

“It was basically where the housing officers were allocating lots to persons and were collecting the monies. The lots in question are located primarily in the Lima Sands community,” Seewnarayan is quoted by the Office of the President’s Public Information and Press Services Unit as saying.
These payments, she noted, were not turned over to the RDC Accounts Department.
The present housing clerk explained that prior to Wednesday’s presidential outreach, nothing was done to address this issue.

Mark Thomas receiving his land title from President Ali

“Nothing has been done…officers are still working on this old matter; and what’s happening now is (that) issues are being found out by persons questioning their transport,” she explained.
Meanwhile, in an invited comment to the President’s Public Information and Press Services Unit, CEO of the CH&PA, Sherwyn Greaves, who was also present at the outreach, stated that after the issue was brought to his attention, he terminated the employment of the previous regional housing officer.
“What the CH&PA is doing is strengthening our structure from two staff to four (in the region) because we recognise there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. We will stop it immediately, and will have to treat with those persons that were duped…they can’t be punished twice. We will have to accept the payments. As far as I know, the other staff involved are not working anymore,” Greaves is quoted as saying.

600 house lots
During the outreach, President Ali announced that an additional 600 house lots will be developed and distributed to residents in several Region Two communities.
The Head of State explained that plans for the development of the 600 house lots will be completed within weeks, while the infrastructural work will be initiated by mid next year.
Additionally, Greaves further explained that the areas identified for the house lots are Charity and Lima Sands.
The addition of the house lots will benefit hundreds of families living in the region.
Also, during the outreach, three residents who were waiting for years for the titles for their house lots had the process fast-tracked by the President, and they received the documents from him on Wednesday.
Those who received their titles were Mark Thomas, who has been waiting for four years; Pratima Devi Sookdeo, who applied in 2012; and Esann Garraway, who spent five years waiting for his title.
Among the agencies that were present during the presidential outreach were Guyana Power and Light (GPL), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), and the Guyana Police Force.