While some 20,000 house lots were developed by the former PPP/C administration from 2011 to 2015, less than 20% of them are occupied, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan told the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Bulkan’s disclosure, made during his contribution to the budget debate, was made in response to PPP/C Member of Parliament Nigel Dharamlall, who had claimed the government’s housing drive’s focus on multi-unit housing was not what the people wanted.
“The Honourable Member, in his presentation, said that Guyanese do not want to live in half of a house, that they want a full house. Well, sir, the last time that I checked, the good quality units that are being built by this administration do not have half of a bedroom, nor half of a living room, nor half of a kitchen..,” Bulkan said, while pointing out that he wanted to educate Dharamlall on the track record of the previous administration with regards to housing.
He said that from the year 2000 to 2015, approximately 55,000 house lots were developed, and of these approximately 28,000, or more than 50% remain unoccupied.
When looking at a smaller timeline, Bulkan explained that during the period of 2011 to 2015, 20,000 house lots were developed but less than 4,000 had houses built on them from 38 housing schemes.
“So the rate of occupancy is less than 20% or the rate of unoccupancy is greater than 80% but yet, sir, almost $13 billion was expended towards those schemes and a further $16 billion is required to consolidate the infrastructure in those schemes and yet what we have is a rate of occupancy between 20% and 25%,” Bulkan said.
Dharamlall, in his presentation on Monday following Junior Community Minister Valerie Patterson-Yearwood’s, would opine that the housing solutions being offered by the government are not the vision of Guyanese. “…on the matter of housing, the Honourable Minister with responsibility for housing spoke very glowingly of the performance of the department, but I’d like to bring to the attention of the minister that the people of this country need house lots, the people of this country need their own homes, they don’t need split units. The people of this country do not support a tenement housing policy. The people of this country do not want to live in half a home, they want to live in their own home…,” Dharamlall had stated.