The Ministry of Housing has a “comprehensive plan” for Plastic City and held several meetings with residents but they have refused to move, Housing and Water Minister, Irfaan Ali says.
He did not say whether it was persons who reside on the edges of the squatters’ community who have refused to move or those who live in sturdier housing at the front. The Minister did not respond further when contacted yesterday saying that he will issue a statement.
This newspaper had spoken with residents who live on the edges of the squatter community who said that Ministry representatives had visited some time ago and promised assistance with relocating but they have heard nothing since. Most had lived in the perennially flooded, insect-infested flats amidst mangroves for a number of years. They had said that they are willing to relocate once assistance with house lots is provided. Some had indicated their willingness to pay for the house lots in installments saying that they could not afford the lump sum.
Chairman of Region Three, Julius Faerber told Stabroek News that the Ministry of Housing had conducted a survey and had asked residents to purchase housing forms and apply for house lots. He said he did not know how that process had fared because the Region was not involved and the Housing Ministry was responsible for the issue.
Residents of the West Demerara squatter settlement which has no electricity or potable water or any other service had told this newspaper that they could not afford any place else and that was why they settled there. According to reports, Plastic City was so named because plastic was the main building material used in the original ‘houses’ there.
Over a dozen families live in leaking board and zinc shacks on the edges of Plastic City while others live in sturdier houses at the front.