Govt removes PNCR from illegally occupying Govt building in Lethem

…to facilitate construction of health facility

Despite being served with multiple notices, the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) have refused to desist from occupying a State-owned building in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), and this has resulted in the Government moving to evict them from the structure.
Guyana Times understands that, for decades, the PNCR have been occupying the building in question as its Lethem Office – for political purposes – despite the property (building and land) being owned by the State, under the purview of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
Government has, since last year, repeatedly notified the Aubrey Norton-led party to vacate the premises, since it has intentions to use the site to construct a health facility to serve the people of Region Nine. However, the PNCR have refused to comply, in consequence whereof the Government is moving to demolish the building.

Amanza Walton-Desir, MP

Roysdale Forde of the PNCR has issued a statement expressing the party’s displeasure over the matter. Forde on Thursday claimed: “It matters not whether the land on which the building was situated is owned by the State or the party.”
Amanza Walton-Desir, an Attorney-at-Law and PNCR Executive, has confirmed that the party had received notices from the Government, but added that due process has not been followed.
“This property has been on the Asset Register of the PNCR from the inception, in excess of 40 years. I will say as well that it is a fundamental tenet of law that one cannot be deprived of property without due process of the law. What I can say is that we are not in receipt of a court order or any court order that would indicate that there is some dispute about the ownership and possession of this property,” MP Walton-Desir told sections of the media.
But in a statement of his own on the matter, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, explained that the illegal occupancy of the building by the PNCR was flagged on numerous occasions by the Auditor General.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall

“I have been advised by regional officials that consistent Auditor General’s Reports have cited the non-approved use of Government buildings in the region,” the Minister pointed out.
He noted, too, that ample notice was given the PNCR officials to remove from the building. “In the case of the building under occupation by the PNC, I have been advised that numerous efforts and notices were sent to PNC officials in Region Nine to vacate a Government building that they occupied for political purposes, and they have refused to do so,” he said.
Minister Dharamlall explained that the site is earmarked for a health facility, and the PNCR’s “continued illegal occupation of the building has stalled the construction of the facility.”

PNCR’s Roysdale Forde

The Local Government Minister added, “The REO indicated to me that all materials removed are secured and stored at the RDC”.