Some of the residents engaging Minister Rodrigues on Wednesday morning
Residents of Prospect Housing Scheme on the East Bank Demerara are accusing squatters who were relocated from Broad Street in Georgetown to that community, of turning the community into a ghetto.
Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, visited the community today after persons who were allotted lands in the area before the squatters were moved there, invited her so that they could raise a number of concerns.
They stressed that the new inhabitants of the community have been engaging in activities which not only decrease their property value, but also make the lives of other community residents uncomfortable.
“The Broad Street people and the water-fetching; they are not easing from the pipe and we cannot get water. They fetch water whole day and whole night. Rain can be falling buckets, they still fetching water and when you talk, they want to play bullies and fight you. This is heart-rending for other people who live here,” Ulinda La Fleur told BIG Smith News Watch.
It should be noted that in the community of Prospect, there are no pipes which run to individual homes, and as such, residents are forced to share a stand pipe which is located some distance from the general population in the community, and which residents would usually use as a source for water.
There are also black tanks which are allotted to each house as part of the deal residents got when they purchased their homes from the Ministry of Housing and Water, but those tanks are only filled whenever it rains.
Another resident, Akeeba Haynes, told Big Smith News Watch that she has been living in the area since early January, and cannot get running water in her yard. She said when she went in to Guyana Water Inc., she was told she needed to wait until after elections, but when the elections were done and she went back to the water company, they told her the community had to “wait until the budget was finished reading and passed”.
According to Haynes, the stand pipe which is located a very far distance from where residents live, makes it hard for persons to have water readily available once there is no rain. According to her, it is also even more difficult “watching children juggling water for those distances”, while others use the pipes to bathe, wash clothes, brush teeth and other activities.
Minister Rodrigues after listening to the concerns, said that her ministry will, as a temporary measure, ensure that water is supplied to the area within two weeks’ time, as the long term solution of the drilling and operationalization of a well in the community will be done before the end of 2020.
She also indicated that the main access road in the community will be capped with asphalted concrete, and the Minister of Home Affairs would be engaged on the need for a community policing group to be formed in the area as requested by the residents.
The residents also expressed concerns about what obtains on the weekend in the community. They claim that persons from outside of the community, mostly Broad Street residents, will ride from Georgetown and come into the village, where they would turn the community into a virtual race track, accompanied by the playing of loud music and other activities at one of the corners.
The Broad Street residents were relocated to the area after a fire at Broad and Lombard Streets in Georgetown which rendered several families homeless.
Prospect residents have argued that there was no consultation with them before moving the Broad Street residents into the community, and fears had since then been expressed that property value would decrease as a result.