Govt to construct 190 houses for working class at Cummings Lodge
– orders squatters to vacate land by April 10 or face consequences
Informal settlers have been impeding the rate of works currently ongoing at the Cummings Lodge New Housing Development area on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), and as such, have been ordered to vacate by April 10, 2021, or face the consequences.
On Monday, the Housing and Water Ministry issued a notice informing persons who have been occupying the land illegally to move. Guyana Times understands that a total of 11 illegal structures were erected in the pathway of the ongoing works.
As such, the Ministry in the notice stated that failure to comply with the State’s instructions before the deadline will result in consequences.
When contacted on Tuesday, Minister within the Housing Ministry, Susan Rodrigues told this publication that as part of infrastructural works in the Cummings Lodge area, bridges and roads are being constructed.
The water and electrical networks were also finalised.
She noted that the Government is in the process of constructing 190 elevated two-bedroom houses in the community for the working class – a project that is slated for completion within five months.
“With all the necessary infrastructure in place, we are reached by stumble block…. that is the illegal structures that are impeding on the ongoing work in the area hence the reason for the notice to be issued… We have a timeline to work with and once, April 10 comes and the illegal structures are not removed, we will take the necessary steps,” the Minister explained.
Back in November, President Irfaan Ali had announced that land clearing works started for new housing schemes at Mon Repos and Cummings Lodge. He noted that the Government’s housing programme will create tens of thousands of jobs in the construction and home improvement sectors. Moreover, the construction sector will be key to driving growth in Guyana’s non-oil sectors.
As part of the PPP/C Government’s ambitious plan to make available over 50,000 house lots over the next five years to citizens, the Housing Ministry had commenced steps to access 6356 acres of lands to help satisfy this demand.
In addition to other areas, the lands were being sought between Golden Grove and Peters Hall on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) and between Ogle to Cummings Lodge on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), for the development of additional housing schemes.
Since last August, Government had pointed out the issue regarding the illegal occupation of State lands at Cummings Lodge and regarded it as a hindrance in carrying out the planned budgeted projects.
These persons were not occupying the named locations at the time of the agency’s last inventory, which means they recently moved into the locations and started construction.
“Again, the Ministry is working to meet the housing demand, but our hand will not be forced by persons who continue to indulge in this illegal act. Squatting impedes on infrastructure development and more importantly, has a serious impact on the health and safety of those involved,” a statement from the Ministry had said.
Citizens were reminded that Government reserves are not suitable living conditions for anyone as they lack the basic necessities for daily human activities. It went on to say that most times, these reserves run along critical waterways, posing a serious threat of contamination. In other instances, critical hardware for utility companies have been occupying these reserves and illegal encumbrances can affect critical services provided by these companies.
Government is mobilising to distribute a whopping 10,000 house lots to Guyanese in 2021, in keeping with their manifesto promise to deliver 50,000 lots within their first term in office.
This is aimed at clearing the existing application backlog that currently stands at over 70,000. A number of land titles will also be issued throughout the year.
With a budgetary allocation of $6 billion for housing, Government has said the establishment of a Diaspora Housing Fund is being considered. The Head of State had also revealed that Government was looking at other areas of securing financing for the housing sector. This includes efforts to raise some US$250 million for housing projects.