The illegal occupants were encouraged to form themselves into a group to engage the Ministry so as to assist the way forward. The representatives engaged the Ministry the next day, Wednesday September 8 2020 at the Ministry offices on Brickdam. At the meeting, government’s zero tolerance position on squatting was further made clear and residents were told to apply for land through the established process. They were further told that the Ministry is willing to assist in any way possible so as to ensure that they follow the legitimate process of applying for a house lot at an alternative location. The group promised to make available a list of persons from the area who have existing application in our system and a list for persons who are desirous of applying.
Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal meeting with the squatters in early September
The Honorable Minister Collin Croal
Minister of Housing and Water
As the Subject Minister of Housing and water, I would like to categorically state that the Ministry is committed to ensuring that the housing needs of all Guyanese are approached with the utmost urgency and expediency.
With specific reference to persons who are currently embroiled in a squatting matter with the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) I will once again, for the record state that I have personally visited the area twice to meet with the residents. My engagements with these persons and their leaders were aimed at discussing the situation with the aim of coming to an amicable solution. (see pictures below).
On Saturday, August 17, 2020, myself and a team visited South Success, East Coast Demerara, in response to claims of squatting. The invitation was from the Chairman of the Better Hope/Success/LBI Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC), Zaman Shaw who reported that persons were illegally occupying lands in the area. Upon reviewing official documents, I discovered that the lands being occupied, fell under the purview of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and not the Ministry of Housing and Water. A meeting with the newly appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Radha Krishna Sharma, and I ensued.
Following those discussions on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, I again visited the area along with a team from the Ministry and Mr. Zaman Shaw, and officials from NICIL to meet with residents. At each of these meetings the Ministry’s position about the ownership of the land in question was reiterated.
The team cautioned those persons who hailed from Greater Georgetown and the East Coast of Demerara that the lands on which they are erecting structures, including permanent ones, does not belong to the Ministry of Housing and Water or Central Housing & Planning Authority, and that their occupation of said lands remains illegal. This was widely cover in the media.
To date this has not materialized, hence the Ministry of Housing and Water will be hosting an exercise today, October 1, 2020, at the Chateau Margot Primary School geared at assisting these families in their quest for lawful homeownership.
A valid form of identification (passport or national identification card), proof or affidavit of income, TIN certificate, and marriage certificate if applicable. For persons with children below the age of 18, copies of their birth certificates are required. Applications forms will also be available at the venue.
The Ministry is committed to facilitating this process as it is the first step in the direction of legally owning a plot of land from the agency. For persons who have an existing application in the Ministry, if there is a need for updated information to be added, this will be facilitated as well. All applications will be dealt with, in due process as we recognize the demand and the need for adequate housing as a basic human right.
Throughout the engagement process my Ministry along with NICIL representatives have shown utmost tolerance in engaging squatters/illegal occupants. The Ministry of Housing and Water remains committed to its Manifesto promise of providing ten thousand house lots annually and would like to remind persons who have applied for housing that the Ministry is doing everything in its power to satisfy the housing needs of all Guyanese.
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