Gov’t destroys houses in Sophia
The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) on Thursday commenced its regularisation process in ‘A’ and ‘B’ Fields, Sophia. The operation saw the homes of several persons squatting on government’s reserve being demolished.
The exercise was a collaborative effort between the CH&PA and other agencies including the Guyana Power and Light and the Guyana Water Inc., Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Guyana Police Force among others. Chairman of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) representing Liliendaal, Clayton Hinds said that before this action was taken, residents were given at least two weeks’ notice.
“As I understand it, government intends to spend a significant amount of money in this block of land to develop the roads and put in lights and clear the trenches and so on. That will require some amount of orderliness as far as the block of land referred to as Sophia is concerned,” he explained.
While some structures will be demolished on the spot, owners who are in the process of being regularised or relocated have been given time to do so. Hinds said that it would be counter-productive of the government to spend millions of dollars in developing the community and still permit such an unsystematic approach to living conditions. He is also encouraging persons to visit the Ministry of Communities and apply for a plot of land.
“People needs houses and this country has land for everybody to get a piece of land so what I am advising my colleagues is that you should go into the Central Housing and Planning Authority if you find yourself in this kind of position where there are efforts to remove your structure, you should go into central housing and discuss your issue and see if they can allocate a piece of land to you,” Hinds stated.
Harper Fredericks, a resident of ‘A’ Field Sophia said that he is in agreement with the government’s actions. He explained that “the point is that you have to get them off and you got to start somewhere. So, by right, they have to do something and they have to start now. I am not against Housing doing what they are doing.”
The issue of squatting has been a thorny issue for a number of years, despite several efforts to curb the practice. The demolition exercise is said to be the first of many, as the CH&PA is determined to address the issue of squatting. The exercise will shortly be rolled out in the ‘C’, and ‘D’ Fields Sophia, Liliendaal, Pattensen, Turkeyen and Cumming’s Lodge. (GINA)