Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has insisted that there was no shady deal in the sale of prime lands from Eccles to Providence but he endorsed the move by the government to take action where there was a breach of contract.
Jagdeo told reporters during a press conference today that he will support actions taken by the government to enforce penalties against developers who are in breach of their contract with the government.
“I am aware that there were several developers who are in breach of their contract with the government. What should the government do and it has our full support, it should enforce the agreement with these developers,” he stated.
Jagdeo continued, “if they did not do what they were promised to do, then there must be a penalty for not promising to do that. But you hold the reins of government now, you have to do that.”
The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has commenced court proceedings to repossess the 100-acre plot of land at Providence, East Bank Demerara which was earmarked by Chinese company Bai Shan Lin for development of a “New Life” community.
BK International, under the name Sunset Lakes, purchased the property for the housing development but had resold the land to the Chinese developer.
It was also revealed that another businessman had purchased several acres of land there but did not commence any developments. That businessman had also resold his property which was intended for the development of housing schemes.
Asked why the previous administration never enforced penalties against those developers who violated the contract, Jagdeo said he did not know.
“I was not there at the time. I was out of government. So it would be good to ask the minister who was there at that time,” he stated.
The Minister with responsibility for housing then was Irfaan Ali.
Notwithstanding, Jagdeo maintained that the process through which the lands were acquired by private developers was transparent.
He argued that all developers went through the same process and were given the same contract.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original headline on this story was “Jagdeo supports repossession of Providence lands.” While Opposition Leader was speaking in the context of government’s move to repossess some lands which were granted for housing development, he did not specifically say he supported the repossession of the lands at Providence, which was sold to Sunset Lakes. What he did say was that the government was free to “enforce penalties for those in breach of the contract” for housing development. The government has moved to the court to repossess the lands to Sunset Lakes for “breach of contract.”