Land earmarked for relocation of Lombard St squatters deemed unsuitable

-Cummings Lodge seen as most likely alternative

The land identified at Barnwell, on the East Bank of Demerara, for the relocation of squatters from Lombard and Broad streets, Charlestown, has been found to be unsuitable for the move, according to Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Lelon Saul.

Saul told reporters yesterday that the CH&PA is now looking to relocate the squatters to Cummings Lodge, Greater George-town.

During the past year, the Mocha Arcadia Neighbour-hood Democratic Council (NDC) and the CH&PA were at loggerheads following the announcement of the relocation of residents from Lombard and Broad streets to Plantation Prosperity, which is located behind Mocha.

The NDC had strongly objected to residents being relocated to their community, while expressing concern at outsiders being given the opportunity to occupy lands over residents as well as security fears. The NDC had suggested that the CH&PA move the squatters to different communities. However, by last November they had reached a compromise and work had started on land preparation.

Initially, it was announced that 49 families would be relocated to Plantation Prosperity. It was also reported that some $43 million was to be spent for the construction of 72 homes, while $30 million was to be spent on infrastructure development. Food for the Poor was also expected to inject $43 million into the development project.

However, Saul said the soil condition at Barnwell has resulted in it being deemed an unsuitable location.

“Barnwell was deemed an inappropriate location because of the soil condition there. Additionally… his Excellency the President has asked that we put that project on hold pending the outcome of the [Commission of Inquiry] into ancestral lands. Notwithstanding the request of the president, we have deemed the location inappropriate and we have decided to look for another location,” he said.

Saul did say that it is most likely that they will be relocated to Cummings Lodge. “In terms of timeline, first, we have to develop the location at Cummings Lodge and we see the relocation taking place sometime in October,” he added.

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