Region 2 residents bemoan land issues, Min Croal assures speedy assistance

Region Two residents emerged in their numbers on Wednesday last to express their frustration at a myriad of housing and water issues. These continue to plague their lives.

Over the years, many residents of the Pomeroon-Supenaam district have expressed concern over their inability to obtain their titles and other forms of official land documentation. Many of the residents highlighted that they have even fully paid for the lands allocated to them as they continue to wait for over a decade to be granted the legal ownership of the lands they applied and paid for.

One Onderneeming resident said he is tired of waiting for his title, “I pay off for me land since [2012] in [Anna Regina] and meen geh me title onto now. Meen know wuhs the process neither so I come fuh see wuhs it,” the disgruntled resident said.

Moreover, residents noted that there existed a high level of ignorance in the area in terms of the processes to apply and be allocated house lots.

Residents complained that prior to 2020, they have been continuously placed on the “royal run around”, as housing officials were not attending to their dire needs.

However, Minister of Housing and Water Colin Croal on Wednesday during a visit to the villages of Onderneeming and Lima Sands on the Essequibo coast empathized with the villagers.

He assured them that everything is being done to reverse the slow tracking of the allocation of house lots.

In a strategic effort to accomplish this, the Minister announced that his ministry will be utilizing a new building that will be used substantively to cater to the residents and their housing and water needs.

A team of housing officials also accompanied the minister to aid in the public outreach initiative and respond to any queries that residents may have had at the time.

Additionally, the minister highlighted that there will be an inclusion of four new posts within the soon-to-be constructed Regional Housing Office: A Regional Housing Officer (RHO), an Assistant RHO, an Enforcement officer and an additional clerk. “We want to start taking on the responsibility of accountability to ease the [region’s load of work],” Croal detailed.

These persons, whom Croal said will be identified before the end of the week, will have the responsibility of actively engaging the residents of the area and providing solutions for the variety of problems the face.

Furthermore, Minister Croal expressed his ministry’s intention, in collaboration with the Central Housing and Planning Authority, to allocate more than 700 house lots to residents of the Onderneeming community and towards the construction of a new housing scheme during the month of April.

“350 [lots] in Onderneeming Phase 4…and another 35o for a new Charity Housing Scheme,” Croal announced to the sound of an applause from the audience present.

Among the other developments promised to the residents of these two communities was the construction of a new water treatment plant that is expected to allow approximately “90%” of the residents in the plant’s environs to benefit from a better quality of water.

Croal also took the opportunity to assure the residents that plans are already in place to erect streetlights in the communities of Onderneeming and Lima Sands, in an effort to curb the number of robberies in the community.

This has been endorsed and appreciated by Regional Chairperson Vilma DeSilva. “[The streetlights] are very important because… when [residents] have to come through the road at night there are no lights and there are [a lot of robberies] because of that,” DeSilva pointed out.

Whilst speaking with this publication, DeSilva made special mention of the many fraud attempts that have recently been occurring through the purchase and allocation of house lots.

“This came up when persons started to come…with false receipts,” she said. “We are trying to ensure that those persons monies do not go down the drain…the persons that were placed in those [housing] positions did not do their job in a professional manner and we cannot have our people suffering because of unprofessional persons,” DeSilva reiterated.

The Ministry of Housing & Water is conducting several outreaches in various parts of the country.