In Belle West, phase two, 538 house-lots were allocated to residents last Wednesday through the Housing Minis-try’s ongoing ‘One Stop Shop’ campaign, the Govern-ment Information Agency (GINA) has reported.
The Belle West, phase two area has seen an investment of approximately $300M to develop a housing area to accommodate 2,390 people.
The activity on Wednes-day, at the Patentia Commu-nity Center, was the third of 18 ‘One Stop Shops’ that the ministry will be conducting, under the theme “Affordable Housing for all; Establishing Sustainable Communities,” for 2011.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Myrna Pitt was quoted as saying that the Belle West, phase two area is also identified for the development of core houses, which is basic minimum shelter designed for low income allottees to occupy their land. She also noted that an inter-agency coordinating committee has been established to enable the planning and implementation of sustainable housing development projects and communities.
And, in an address, Minister of Housing Irfaan Ali said that the mandate of the ministry and the CH&PA goes beyond the development and allocation of house-lots. “We have to ensure that planning and development are integrated in a way that will allow for the communities to become sustainable… this would require us working in partnership with you,” Ali is quoted as saying.
He also said that the ‘One Stop Shop’ allows persons to understand the new role that each individual would have to play as he/she strives to build cohesion within a community that is very diverse in terms of culture and ethnicity. “We want this blend to be one that would take Guyana forward and reflect the nature of the Guyanese society,” the minister said.
With regards to the issue of squatting, Ali said that “as of today every single family that is qualified for a house-lot has been offered one at this ‘One Stop Shop,’ so there is no excuse anymore.
Squatting in areas such as Plastic City and Herstelling/Farm sea defence would not be tolerated anymore because it compromises the safety and integrity of the larger community.”
He said further that over the next five years, government will be making the necessary investments to ensure that housing development is advanced in every region in Guyana. He pointed out that housing development at Bartica, Region Seven is an area of critical concern for the ministry, as the location of suitable land remains a challenge.
Additionally, in light of allegations from some sections of society that only the allocations of land to wealthy persons are being prioritised by the ministry, a list of all the allottees will be made public to allow for scrutiny. This will also allow for the public to pinpoint persons who have already been allocated lots and who deliberately misinform or submit false information to the ministry in order to acquire a house-lot, the release stated. “Government stands committed to ensure that all our people have improved living conditions, improved access to social infrastructure, and to ensure that development is done in an equitable manner,” Ali added.
According to GINA, this year the Housing Ministry has crafted a massive housing development for Region Three and aims to complete the schemes at Zeelugt phase one, Leonora, and Recht-Door-Zee. These areas will see a further 2,100 house-lots that would benefit more than 8,620 persons in the region, the release stated.