Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam and Middle Road, La Penitence are two squatter settlements the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is working to regularize this year, its Director of Community Development Gladwin Charles has said, even as the entity’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) warned that there is a “zero tolerance policy” on squatting in critical areas.
Charles stated that because of the seriousness with which squatting is regarded, it has been budgeted in the 2017 work programme for an action plan to relocate persons occupying the “zero tolerance areas”.
Speaking to the media on Monday last, he said, “We realize that it is a very, very big task and the CH&PA alone cannot do it and in that action plan there are some ideas in terms of working with different agencies. It has to be an inter-agency approach.”
Charles related that the CH&PA’s target this year for the allocation of lots in areas it plans to regularize is 400. So far, 198 lots have been allocated.
He said the major area that the agency was working to regularize this year is Angoy’s Avenue, formally known as Mount Sinai, the largest squatters’ settlement in New Amsterdam, Berbice.
Charles said there are approximately 1,010 lots there and 510 allocation offers have been made following verifications.
He related that on April 24, the CH&PA began the allocation of lots in the area, and preparation for the processing of titles. It is hoped that before the end of the year persons can begin receiving their titles.
With regard to Middle Road, La Penitence in Georgetown, he said the CH&PA was working with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission to have the area regularized. He said that a design of the area is being made which will help to determine lot sizes and show which individuals need to be relocated.
Meanwhile, CEO of the CH&PA Lelon Saul emphasized that squatting in critical areas will not be tolerated.
“Basically we have a zero tolerance policy for squatting in critical areas. Therefore, persons who are squatting in critical zones, they will be removed. We must identify appropriate locations to put them and we are currently working on that,” Saul stated during the press conference on Monday.
Saul related that the CH&PA has plans to develop an area in Industry to relocate persons who are living along the East-West Front Road, as well as the Tucville embankment, and other areas around Georgetown.
He asserted that the trend of squatting could not be allowed to continue and urged persons to desist.
His colleague, Charles, shared his sentiment.
“At this time I would like to take the opportunity also to advise persons, who are… For example, in Sophia, we are doing some work right now. Persons have been complaining that more persons are going on the dams or on the reserves. We’re encouraging or asking persons to desist from doing this and for those who have never applied for house lots to come into the ministry so that we could have their information and so that in terms of relocation, we would work with them…” Charles commented.