Housing development project: Cummings Lodge farmers get $25M compensation from Govt

In order to progress with works at the Cummings Lodge New Housing Development area on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), the Housing and Water Ministry on Monday provided financial compensation to several farmers who were utilising these lands.

Minister Collin Croal handing over a cheque to a farmer

Government is working to construct some 190 elevated houses in the community for the working class over plots 1767 and 1768. However, it was previously found that farmers had occupied some of these lands.
As such, Minister within the Housing Ministry, Susan Rodrigues said an assessment was conducted by the National Agricultural Research & Extension Institute (NAREI) on the value of the crops. Both parties reached a consensus and financial compensation was offered to these farmers.
Rodrigues told the farmers, “We stand with you. We want to help you and we would come with a peaceful solution; a resolution that would be of benefit to you and your satisfaction as we proceed…With this development in this area, we are creating hundreds of jobs for people in this area. We are getting the economy going again. These lots that we have put aside for the construction of homes will provide middle-income homes for hundreds of families.”
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Collin Croal said with this issue out of the way, land clearing can now continue for the developmental works that are planned for the area. He noted that the opening of lands in this area will bring employment and other benefits to residents. On the farmers’ perspective, he outlined that they can use the compensatory package to develop another area to earn a livelihood.
Along with housing initiatives, he highlighted that road works are also in the pipeline for this community to the tune of $550 million.
“Over $550 million of road works within Sophia community area all geared towards the upliftment of the entire environment and community. At the same time, 1768 will have the construction of close to 200 moderate income houses that create opportunities for people living right here in Sophia,” he explained.
Some $25 million in compensation is expected to be distributed and the individual compensation for each farmer ranges from $100,000 to $5.6 million based on claims and the NAREI assessment.
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.
Croal took the opportunity to point out that the sector is moving at an unprecedented rate like never before recorded in history.
“The rate of development within our housing sector is at a pace that in no previous period in the history of our housing sector that you have ongoing now. Even now, while we have ongoing infrastructural works for existing areas, already the project department is involved in the proprietary for those areas for which we allocated this year, which will form part of next year’s infrastructural works.” (G12)