APNU/AFC housing legacy riddled with failure – CH&PA

– says $13B needed to develop unfinished areas

– as previous Govt converted burial ground into house lots

The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has come out swinging against recent attempts by the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) to claim credit for 21 areas it said it developed during its term in Government, as well as other land it said it secured.
According to CH&PA in a statement, those 21 areas are in fact in such a deplorable state that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government found no designs or surveys were even done in some of these areas. CH&PA revealed that these areas were all virgin lands, which the Ministry had no jurisdiction over.
“When the PPP/C Government took office, the Ministry of Housing was saddled with a number of land ownership issues since, thousands of Guyanese had letters stating they have been issued lands but years had passed and they were unable to get ownership documents or even locate the lots. In the absence of ownership document,” CH&PA said.

Former Junior Housing Minister Annette Ferguson and CH&PA CEO Sherwyn Greaves

“All of these schemes lacked the basic infrastructure; in fact, they were all large open lands with heavy vegetation but are now being developed under the Ministry’s 2021 budget and work programme.”
Former Junior Minister for Housing under APNU/AFC, Annette Ferguson had recently contended that her Government secured 409 acres of land for house lot allocation, while it developed 21 areas for allocation. CH&PA described this as nothing more than a political gimmick. CH&PA said in one case Ferguson’s Ministry converted a site earmarked for a burial ground, into a housing development.
“The allocations which Ferguson referred to in her letter were a political gimmick in the lead up to 2020 election as these allocations were done in January and February 2020. In most of these areas, no designs nor surveys were done, they were all virgin lands for which the Ministry had no jurisdiction over.”
“The Guyanese people know that Recht-Door-Zee and Onderneeming schemes on the West Bank of Demerara were developed under the then Housing Minister, now President HE Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali. Ms Ferguson should be ashamed to speak to allocation in Recht-Door-Zee, since she converted a site which was set aside for a burial ground, to house lots and allocated them,” CH&PA said.
The housing authority reminded that Housing Minister Colin Croal was forced to approach the National Assembly for a $13 billion allocation to develop these very 21 areas that Ferguson claimed credit for in her letter.
“These infrastructure works will be done for house lot allocations in the following areas: Anna Catherina, Cornelia’s Ida, Edinburg, Meten-Meer-Zorg and Stewartville (Region Three); Mon Repos, Vigilance, Bladen Hall, Strathspey, La Bonne Intention, Cummings Lodge, Great Diamond, Little Diamond, Prospect, Providence (Region Four); and Experiment, Williamsburg, Hampshire, No 79 Village, No 75 Village and Ordinance/Fortlands (Region Five and Six).”

Three housing areas
Setting the record straight on what APNU/AFC actually did during their term in office, CH&PA said that the former Government developed three housing schemes – Peters Hall, Prospect Track E and Providence 125. They noted that every other allocation done during the five years in governance, was to existing housing schemes.
“According to information produced by the Opposition MP, she claimed that her party secured a combined total of 409 acres of land for house lot allocation in Lethem, Kwakwani, Amelia’s Ward and Wisroc. This is far from the truth,” CH&PA said.
“In Kwakwani this Government found that the land which was only identified, was unfit for housing and has since commenced the process to secure new and suitable lands to fulfil the housing need for persons in that area. Wisroc was never vested to the Ministry and the same can be said for Lethem and Amelia’s Ward as the ownership for these lands were still questionable up until late 2020.”
Reference was also made to lands allocated at Onderneeming, Region Two. According to CH&PA, these were also open lands that were already developed since the commencement of the scheme. The housing authority also debunked Ferguson’s attempts to take praise for the developments in the Perseverance Housing Scheme.
“She must be reminded that it was the PPP/C Administration who established that scheme with the 1000 Homes Project. That scheme was conceptualised and successfully delivered by the then Minister and current President, HE Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.”
“The other areas, including Annandale, Mon Repos, La Bonne Intention, Non Pariel, Ordinance Fortlands the issue of ownership is now being addressed by this new Government. It is almost impossible for an allottee to approach a bank for a mortgage,” CH&PA said.
CH&PA noted that the demand for lands remains at an all-time high. They assured that the Ministry of Housing is working with a strategic plan to meet this demand, while also executing infrastructure development works in new and existing housing schemes throughout the country.