Distribution of house lots in Bartica was unsatisfactory

Dear Editor,   

A number of residents are disappointed in the way the Ministry of Housing issued house lots at Five Miles, Potaro, Bartica in the month of November, 2012. They have brought to my attention the fact that the Ministry of Housing only notified them by letter two weeks before the team came to Bartica and did the distributions. The letter stated the price for the land, the date for making payments, the status of the house lot, ie, high income, middle income and low income.

I was advised by residents that on the day that the lots were distributed they paid as follows: $1.5M; $1.2M; $700.000; $600.000; $500.000 and $100.000, etc. Some of the residents stated that they only uplifted their land letters from the Bartica Post Office one week before the ministry team came and did the distributions, since the post office doesn’t deliver mail to the residents who live along the Potaro Road from One to Five miles, as well as some other areas in Bartica, so they don’t know when mail is at the post office for them until they check.

The notice was very short for them to accumulate the large amount of money required to pay for their house lot, not forgetting that they were preparing for the Christmas season. They further complained that they made a request to Mr Irfaan Ali, Minister of Housing for more time to pay for their lots since they didn’t have the full amount of money at the time, and they had not expected that the lots would have been cost so much and the notice would have been so short.

They were told that if they didn’t have the money to pay then, they would be unable to get their house lot. The residents further said that there were some persons who had not been given letters, but because they had the money to pay they received lots.

Editor,  I was further advised by some residents who received low income letters, that on the day of the distribution when they presented  their letters to the ministry team to make payment for their house lot, they were told that all the low-income lots were finished, and only high income and middle income house lots were available.

Before house lots are made available for distribution the Ministry of Housing normally sends a team of land surveyors to conduct a survey, and from the surveyors’ report the ministry will be fully aware of the amount of house lots they will make available for distribution and will prepare letters for residents who applied, stating the type of house lot for which they have qualified.

How can the ministry issue letters to residents for low income house lots, and then say to some on the day of distribution that all the low income house lots have finished? Did the ministry cater in its distribution for the poor, unemployed and single-parent residents who applied for a low income house lot? Did the ministry believe that all the residents of Bartica are rich gold miners? Does the ministry know there are a number of Bartica residents who are unemployed and could not afford to pay for their house lot at the time of distribution?  Did the ministry know that a lot of residents who paid for their house lot borrowed the money to pay?

The amount of money charged by the ministry for house lots was too high, and as such I request a complete review of the amount charged and that some reasonable amount be refunded to the residents who overpaid.  New methods should be used for the distribution of house lots in Bartica and a permanent land committee should be established with members selected by the residents to deal with all further distribution of land in this region. In addition, before house lots are distributed, the location must have electricity and street lights; the roads must be constructed with an asphalt surface; there should be drains on both side of the roads, and water must be available.

Yours faithfully,
Micah Williams

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