House lot distribution is preferable to building condominiums

Dear Editor,

Minister within the Ministry of Communities has been very aggressively advocating the building of condominium apartment buildings and duplexes for public servants, youths and low income families. People must take a dispassionate look at this issue and not be overwhelmed by those who take such positions, whether from an ideological standpoint or because the ministry stands to gain.

When approving a condominium scheme the Minister is vested with powers to impose conditions as she thinks fit, in particular, where the promoter or promoters of the scheme seek to accept from the prospective purchasers of units or the public, monetary deposits. A condominium means that the building is divided into units, each unit being attached to, or dependent to a substantial degree on the other units for support. In any case where the whole of the property in a condominium scheme is owned by a company or other corporate body, the board of directors of the company or the management committee of the corporate body, shall be responsible. The cost of these units will be high for workers. Land distribution and allocation for the poor will not be a priority anymore, not even for the salaried employees in both the public and private sectors.

What is happening is that the ambitious feed, clothe and house the nation programme under APNU will come to an end. It was enunciated by this government on the campaign trail and especially by the President. In fact the plan has been reversed, and in the condominium scheme there will be no known criteria for the evaluation of applications or the award of titles.

An evaluation of housing in Guyana since the new government took office would lead to the conclusion that there is no recognizable housing policy and programme in place.

In the face of a diminishing housing stock, the government’s commitment to house low income groups as well as others is a long way from being fulfilled.

The low level of political commitment to the shelter and settlements sector was exemplified in its downgrading of housing from an integral element of development to a mere item of welfare. The Minister is throwing a smokescreen over the turnkey houses to divert public attention so she can move to construct these condominiums and duplexes. There were some problems with the turnkey houses when they were built, but the big question is where were the building inspectors when they were being built? It seems to me that no one was checking on these houses, and in my  opinion I think the faults can be corrected. Government at all times should place high importance on land distribution and allocation to the population. Public land distribution is seen as vital to the social and economic development of our country. Sound policies and programmes can impact positively on all segments of the population by providing the opportunity for tens of thousands of Guyanese to own a house lot and to build their own homes.

 

Yours faithfully,

Mohamed Khan

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