Repossession of house lots…
citizens, mostly the poor, who are still unable to complete construction on their homes on house lots allocated by the government, are calling on the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to “show mercy” and reconsider its decision to repossess unoccupied house lots.
Some land owners told Guyana Times the decision is inconsiderate and may have been taken without proper consultations, since those who are unable to occupy are the poorer class in society.
According to the allottees, the CH&PA should take into consideration the financial situations of many families, as well as the current cost of building a house.
One land owner, Sarah Williams, currently squatting on a government reserve, explained that while she was allocated a low income house lot in 2013, she spent all of her savings to pay for it. As such, she had no money to commence the construction of her house.
“Right now, me got three children’ fuh send to school and it nah easy. Me husband does do labour work and me does do cleaning fuh people. Between the two ah we, we barely managing fuh survive, much less fuh start build,” the woman explained.
She related that she plans to commence construction when her eldest child completes secondary school, as the family by then may be in a better financial position.
“We plan fuh start the building as soon as meh big daughter done school next year. She could pick up a lil’ wuk and help run the house and the father and me gon see fuh put money fuh the house. Ah just begging fuh them nah tek’ back the land yet. We can’t live in this squatting dam all the days ah we life,” she lamented.
Meanwhile, Sally Deonarine, a landowner who currently resides with her mother, explained that she shares a similar plight. The woman explained that while she has had her housing plan drawn and began constructing the foundation of her house; works were put on hold as she is currently experiencing financial difficulties. “My only child and I live with my mother. I started the basic construction works like laying out the foundation and digging it. But I am a vendor and business slow down for the longest while so I had to halt construction cause the money wasn’t coming,” she stated.
Jai Singh, a cane harvester at Wales Estate explained that he too is in receipt of a house lot which is located in the Belle West Housing Scheme, West Bank Demerara, but due to issues with employment, he was forced to use the savings that were set aside for the construction of his house to maintain his family.
“Bai, it nat easy having to maintain three school-age children, run a house an build a house. Cane cutters don’t make no kind ah money. Right now meh living with meh wife family but ah want mek somewhere fuh meh children call they own. I cyah do duh right now, but ah still got time. Is just up to the people at Housing fuh show lil mercy and leff we alone,” he stated.
Earlier this week, Chairman of CH&PA Hamilton Green revealed that repossession of lands will commence immediately after completion of an analysis of the situation. It was explained that CH&PA has finalised the list of defaulters and has commenced dispatching letters to landowners, informing them of government’s intention to repossess the house lots while encouraging them to occupy their land.
It was disclosed that thousands of persons are affected by this move, given that only 60 per cent of all the lands allocated have been occupied.
Green stated that the Housing Authority would “not tolerate defaulters” within the housing sector, especially those who have been in possession of the government issued lands for a number of years, but are yet to begin construction.
“If you gave a house lot to an individual and it’s been there and he is not using it for a number of years without good reason… let somebody else get it,” he stated.
He further related that those persons who no longer wish to have these plots of land or build on them can return the land to the CH&PA and they would be reimbursed for it.