After enforcement of court order: Govt offers Hill Foot squatters turn-key houses, resettlement options

Through the Housing Ministry, Government has intervened and will be implementing a relocation and resettlement programme for the Hill Foot, Soesdyke squatters whose homes were demolished during an ongoing dispute with the property owner.

Minister Kwame Mc Coy and CH&PA CEO Sherwyn Greaves meeting with the squatters on Friday

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy and Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Sherwyn Greaves on Friday met with the affected persons.
The ongoing conflict stemmed from the demolition of squatters’ structures by the private landowner, Lawrence Almeem, who had taken them to court and was enforcing a court order for their removal.
Greaves stated that each household will be offered a plot of land or a turn-key house, based on their preference.
He indicated that all the applications will be fast-tracked and urged the squatters to work with the agency. The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) is also offering the squatters land at Long Creek. Additionally, persons have the option of remaining at the Hill Foot land and applying for prescriptive rights.
Meanwhile, Minister McCoy further assured the squatters that the Government will work with all those who are displaced. He reaffirmed that the Government is in no way responsible for the eviction and urged them to ignore falsehoods spewed by the political Opposition.
Squatters are also urged to refrain from the unlawful blocking of roads and damaging of property.
This publication understands that the owner of the property took court action in 2019 to remove the squatters and a court ruling was issued on the matter in April 2023. The order was granted to have the squatters removed from the land which is privately owned.
Following the subsequent demolition of several homes, occupants took protest actions, blocking the roads with burning debris. Details provided indicated that the residents were given notices to vacate the property prior to the demolition. While some got a chance to remove their items from the structures, others did not.
According to the Guyana Police Force, several persons “armed themselves with missiles and offensive weapons before piling and lighting debris and tyres” across the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
These actions intensified on Thursday morning, as the squatters persisted in protesting on the highway. At various sections of the road, they continued adding to the fire, creating havoc for road users.
At that time, Government had dismissed what it deemed as “malicious attempts” to link its involvement in the demolition of property and eviction of squatters at Hill Foot. (G12)