Guyanese must be prime beneficiaries of land – Ali
…says land use policy will evolve to better protect Guyanese
Going forward, President Dr Irfaan Ali said that the Government wants Guyanese to continue to be the prime beneficiaries of land allocations; including for commercial, industrial or residential purposes. And this is a policy he said will evolve over the coming years.
During the recently held diaspora conference, President Ali noted that Guyanese owning land is an important aspect of local content. According to him, the Government wants Guyanese to be the prime beneficiaries of their own land.
“Whilst now we have to use the land to catalyse important investment, we know that the reality is we live in a region… take Trinidad and Tobago for example. Outside investors cannot own the land. They either have to lease or rent land or a building. Land can only be owned by citizens.”
“I’m just giving that example. That is not the case in Guyana. But as we move forward, it has to be a flexible policy looking at demand and the future and ensuring that Guyanese are the prime beneficiaries of the land. And I’m speaking very frankly. That is a very important part of local content.”
The President also noted that provisions of important services including the rental of property should be the domain of Guyanese. The importance of this remaining in the hands of Guyanese is particularly evident in the oil and gas sector, with foreigners involved in the sector in need of housing and accommodations when they arrive.
“The simple things like rental of apartments, rental of buildings. Those should be left for the investment of Guyanese and rented by the companies when they come. So, though the policy is not as drastic as those policies now, it definitely will evolve over the coming years,” Ali said.
It was further explained that land prices in some cases will be market driven, while in other cases will be subsidised. In fact, the President noted that it is the Government’s policy to use funds from the market driven land, to compensate for subsidising land.
This means that land in high demand areas will be as close as possible to market price. However, low- and middle-income housing, which the Government has promised to make available to Guyanese in the tens of thousands, will be subsidised.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/c) Government is targeting the distribution of 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.
Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal had revealed back in February that the Government is focused on clearing the existing application backlog that currently stands at over 70,000. The Government also intends to distribute at least 7000 land titles to citizens, many of whom have been waiting for years.
The areas which will be developed for these allocations include Onderneeming in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Tuschen, Zeelugt, La Parfaite Harmonie, West Minster, Lust-en-Rust, Belle West in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); Farm, Covent Garden, Providence, Prospect, Perseverance, Peters Hall, Good Hope, Mon Repos, Non Pariel, Hope South, Hope Estate in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica); Bath Settlement, Hope, Experiment in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); Ordinance, Kilcoy, Chesney in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); Culvert City in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo); and Amelia’s Ward, Linden, in Region 10.
The national housing development plan for 2021 includes the construction of 1000 homes for low-income earners in areas such as Cummings Lodge, Prospect, Providence, Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Onderneeming, Wales, Ordinance, Fortlands, Hampshire, Williamsburg and Amelia’s Ward. Another 100 is set aside for the hinterland communities. (G3)