No new squatting areas will be recognised – Croal

…over 3000 persons in Region 3 to receive titles

New squatting areas will not be recognised by the Housing and Water Ministry, as efforts move apace to issue titles for some of the current areas where this is an issue.
Housing Minister Collin Croal expressed during a recent housing drive that parallel to Government’s progress in land allocation has been efforts to distribute titles. Pursuing a robust housing campaign, he stated, will ensure that there is no need for squatting.

Housing Minister Collin Croal addressing residents of Region Three

However, he positioned Government’s stance against squatting, adding that new squatting areas will not be recognised.
“Whether we’re in Success, we have to do the right thing. Whether we’re in Amelia’s Ward, we have to do the right thing. But we can’t just believe we will take anybody’s piece of land, make it our own and then believe like if we have a God-given right to assume what we don’t own.”
“We have also taken on the additional task of ensuring that like what we’re doing in other parts of the country, is to fix this bugbear issue of a number of irregular settlements and squatting…We will work with all areas but we will not be recognising any new ones. We recognise what we met and if it can be regularised,” the Housing Minister postulated.
Just for Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 45 squatting areas have been identified; some of which will be regularised. For this year, over 400 titles have already been issued. This additional work, he added, has been undertaken with minimal staff increase.
“Many of those will be regularised. Not all. We have done the assessment. But when we’re finished with those 45, will see over 3000 persons being able to own their own home by a title,” Croal told residents of Region Three.
Croal was keen to note that in some instances, squatters protest the relocation to another area when approached by the Minister. Notwithstanding, infrastructural works take precedence and they will have to move.
“Everybody wants to occupy the space but nobody wants to move so the road can go. Similarly, if you’re on the sea defence and for obvious purposes, you cannot be regularised, then we will work with you because you have to move.”
Earlier this month, over a dozen squatters in Annandale, on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), had to be relocated due to their proximity to the sea defence. Another 60 households have already been regularised in one section of the Annandale squatting area. Those titles have already been distributed to the residents there.
A few days before, some 46 families at Cameron Dam on the West Bank of Demerara were allocated lands at Lust-en-Rust, Canal Number One Polder, WBD. Cameron Dam has been earmarked for road networking and other infrastructural development, and as such, relocating these families was necessary. (G12)