Government housing plan to focus on home-building, self-help & regularised squatter settlements

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As a consequence of the Coalition Government’s new housing drive, some lands that had been sold to private developers are likely to be repossessed.

According to Minster of State Joseph Harmon at this week’s post cabinet media briefing, when the Coalition took office they served notice to these developers informing them of their intention to activate the terms and conditions regarding the contracts to these lands with a plan to enter talks for repossession.

“This of course would take a process. There’s nothing like taking back lands without due process but we believe that it is not right for large swathes of land to be lying idle while we are basically trying our best all around to find lands for people” Harmon said.

Another option that could become available to Government is land currently owned by Guysuco. This, option is however is dependent on final restructuring plan for the sugar industry.

“One of the options that is available is for us to look at lands that had been used by Guysuco that are no longer in planting or in which cane is planted and for us to utilize those lands as well for housing and other forms of development” he explained.

At present there are some 25 thousand house lot applications before the Department of Housing and the first phase of the housing development programme will offer 1500 new units in the form of duplexes and town houses. Minister Harmon at an earlier post cabinet media briefing had indicated that it was the design of government to use local contractors who would in turn have their constructions make use of materials indigenous to Guyana. This phase is expected to begin next month.

However, in the a meantime a detailed outline of the Housing Development plan will be tabled in the National Assembly by the Minister of Communities shortly and should include “the method of construction, the method of payment for units, mortgages for recipients and the criteria for allocation… and the issue of aided self-help programmes” along with the focus on the use of indigenous materials.

The re-emphasis on the use of indigenous materials then spurred the question of whether the Government was looking at the resuscitation of the clay brick factory and Minister Harmon has confirmed that this in need among the proposals as well as kiln dried wood, all with a view of returning Guyana to a place of self-sufficiency.

This is plan too goes hand in hand with need to regularise of Squatter settlements across the country.

 

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