CH&PA awaiting funding for Broad Street squatters relocation – Saul
Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Lelon Saul, said the Housing Authority has already commenced preparatory works to have squatters at Broad and Lombard Streets relocated but noted that they are awaiting Government funding.
Some 68 adults and 100 children are living in the area under severe poverty and the land belongs to a private individual, who has been granted a judgement against the squatters in the High Court. They were supposed to be relocated to Barnwell North, East Bank Demerara, but the residents of Mocha Arcadia held protests over the relocation.
However, the CH&PA has since indicated that Barnwell North is an inappropriate relocation site due to the soil condition.
“Additionally the residents of Mocha Arcadia; we did get some resistance from the residents and the President had asked that we put the project on hold pending the outcome of the CoI into ancestral land. Notwithstanding the request of the President, we have deemed the location inappropriate and we decided to look at another location,” Saul said in February.
He revealed the new relocation site to be in the Cummings Lodge area, on the East Coast of Demerara and added that physical relocation will commence as soon as October.
“In relation to the development at Cummings Lodge, we have initiated the process and we are currently awaiting funding from Central Government. Where I speak (in relation to the process) is in terms of preparation of project documents and so on,” Saul said on Wednesday.
When asked about whether the Food For The Poor (FFTP) organisation is still on board with the relocation project, Saul related that they are continuing to engage the organisation and still have their commitment to aid in the relocation process.
The Department of Housing in collaboration with FFTP was expected to construct 72 homes for the squatters. FFTP will be contributing $42 million and the Ministry is expected to match that. Each home is expected to cost $1.2 million and Minister with responsibility for Housing Valarie Patterson-Yearwood said they are working out a plan with the prospective owners for them to stand the cost of water meters, among other things.
The squatting area came to public attention after former Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence led a team from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to the area as part of their first country visit to Guyana.