How long must citizens be in limbo because of Central Housing and Planning Authority’s negligence?

Dear Editor,

As is the case with all Guyanese desirous of attaining a home in our homeland, I applied for a house-lot in 2007 while a single woman. Several years later while this application was still pending approval, I got married and because of misplaced identification, I got a new ID in my married name which resulted in an update of documents with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), when the name difference was observed during a routine follow-up. This highlights two soaring issues with this organization: the duration of time it takes for application review, approval and land allocation, and the fact there is no consultation on whether the applicant is inclined to have a change or addition of another party to their existing application. I never expected that the marriage would have ended, but it did. After that, I finally received confirmation on land availability and I, therefore, proceeded to complete payments. Subsequently, I requested the removal of my now ex-husband’s name. It took this department one year and two months with frequent visits to complete this deletion; yet another tragedy in such a modern era. With all fees paid, I was excited to obtain my agreement of sale and title (which to date I have not seen). Imagine my dismay when I was told that while the deletion was in progress, the title had been published 8 months prior. Since there was evidently an error within the department (I’ve been told that when the deletion was requested back in August 2015 a hold needed to be placed on title preparation, but that this was not done) I highlighted this to the Supervisor, Ms Stephen; Operations Manager, Mr Azore; and Director of the Land Allocation Department, Ms Tudor. I even brought it to the attention of the CEO, Mr Saul, and they all promised a prompt resolution. Almost another year later and I’m still awaiting that solution.

I’ve been told repeatedly that since the title has been published the matter must be resolved legally. The issue here is: 1. the other party is unwilling to consent to a name removal; 2. since the error occurred within CHPA they should be held accountable for a resolution (something my research reveals can be under Chapter 5:02 Sections 60 and 61 of the Land Registry Act); and 3. as a single mother of two, I cannot afford legal counsel.

In conversing with several persons in and out of the legal community, I’ve learnt that this occurs more often than not. So it begs the following questions: how is the Department of Land Allocation being managed? Are the employees fully knowledgeable and equipped to perform daily duties? Is there a performance management and appraisal system to determine and measure performance outcomes and impact on citizens? How long must citizens be in limbo because of the CHPA’s negligence and complacency while the ministry speaks of repossessing unoccupied properties?

I have no answers to these questions, but what I know is that while I’m sitting here waiting, I’m being made to pay a rent (cash that could have been paying my mortgage), and like others in my position, I’m forced to bide time since no one with the authority is taking action. Is it any wonder that Guyanese who love their native land are leaving it?

Yours faithfully,

(Name and address provided)

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