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Govt engaging Success South squatters since 2020

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Since August 2020, the Ministry of Housing and Water has been actively engaging squatters in the southern part of Success, East Coast Demerara, offering alternative housing solutions to ensure sustainable and affordable living for residents there.

The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) recently issued a statement detailing the government’s efforts to address the issue of informal settlements with compassion and tolerance.

The first meeting with the squatters occurred in 2020, following a request by Zaman Shaw, Chairman of the Hope, Success, and La Bonne Intention (LBI) Neighbourhood Democratic Council.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, during a meeting with Success South squatters in May 2023

Initially, the lands in question were under the jurisdiction of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). On October 1, 2020, the agency invited local residents to begin the process of lawfully acquiring residential house lots.

Subsequently, Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal and NICIL representatives visited the area, allowing squatters to voice their concerns and reiterating the unlawfulness of their occupancy.

The government has been clear that new squatting areas will not be recognised. Efforts to address squatting have included publishing notices in daily newspapers and offering assistance to those willing to relocate by October 4, 2020.

Some of the occupants at the meeting back in May 2023

Even after the deadline, the ministry conducted assessments and continued engagement with the squatters.

In May 2023, various relocation options were presented, including low- or moderate-income land in Lusignan, middle-income land in Success, or a three-bedroom home in Success. By December 2023, 33 out of 45 occupants were allocated housing.

In February 2024, the CHPA’s Community Development Department provided steel and subsidy forms to support the construction of new homes. Additionally, black water tanks with regular refilling were supplied to ensure access to clean water until Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) can provide uninterrupted service. The press release highlighted that, in cases where properties needed relocation, the CHPA covered all expenses, involving property owners in the process. Over the past three and a half years, these interventions reflect the government’s humane approach to squatting issues, balancing developmental needs with residents’ welfare.

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