Sophia, Ruimveldt squatters’ relocation looming – CH&PA

first_imgThe Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is confident that it will be able to successfully remove squatters both in Ruimveldt and Sophia, Georgetown and will have them relocated to suitable areas.Government has still not managed to remove squatters at Broad and Lombard Streets, GeorgetownChief Executive Officer (CEO) Lelon Saul said work in this regard has started. According to him, lands have been identified in Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara for this project.“Some of the persons that are living in informal settlements that are not suitable, some of those persons are earmarked to be relocated there (Cummings Lodge),” he explained.The CEO reiterated that his agency has an overall plan to have all squatters relocated and reminded that they have been successful in some areas, but admitted that it will take some time.“The agency is currently working on a plan to develop additional areas and over a period of time, in the medium to long-term, we hope that we would be in a position to address the issue of squatting,” he said.But when questioned as to whether the relocation of squatters in areas which have proven to be difficult in past circumstances, particularly under the previous Governments, Saul said it will not deter them from trying.Saul told Guyana Times on Tuesday, “Once there is a will, there is a way.”But since February, the relocation process for the squatters at Broad and Lombard Streets, Georgetown has been put on hold as a result of resistance from Mocha Arcadia residents, among other issues.This is not the first time that squatters in that particular area have been presented with the option to relocate. In fact, previous attempts to have them removed from the area have proven unsuccessful.President David Granger had asked for the project to be placed on hold pending the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry into ancestral lands. Notwithstanding the request of the resident, the location was deemed inappropriate due to the unsuitable soil content at the relocation site.Some 68 adults and 100 children are living in the area under severe poverty and the land belongs to a private individual, who has been granted a judgement against the squatters in the High Court. They were supposed to be relocated to Barnwell North, but the residents of Mocha Arcadia, East Caost Demerara held protests over it.The Department of Housing, in collaboration with the Food For The Poor (FFTP) organisation, was expected to construct 72 homes for the squatters. Government said it will match the $42 million contribution by FFTP, but President Granger was not pleased with the current house model.Taking that into consideration, the CH&PA would be making slight alterations to create more space by adding a back patio and a shaded veranda to the house design. Each home was expected to cost $1.2 million and minister with responsibility for housing, Valerie Patterson-Yearwood said they were working out a plan with the prospective owners for them to stand the cost of water meters, among other.Despite these arrangements, some of the squatters are still opposed to relocating.Persons squatting along the embankment of the East and West Front Road were also earmarked for relocation. When the idea was presented to the squatters in 2017 by the new Government, they out rightly opposed it and had asked for their present location to be regularised.However the Communities Ministry along with the CH&PA said this move would have serious environmental implications and other issues. The previous Government had discussed plans to have these squatters relocated at La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara and on the East Bank Demerara.Government through the CH&PA has been working aggressively to either remove squatters or regularise areas that can be regularised. These exercises are being carried out across the country and in communities including Sophia, Plantation Great Diamond, and Angoy’s Avenue, among others. (Samuel Sukhnandan)last_img read more

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