The government, through the Ministry of Communities, will be developing nine new housing schemes in 2019 based on the delivery of a “community experience”.
Three recreational areas, the consolidation of 18 existing areas, installation of electricity in eight areas and completion of 450 housing units also form part of the ministry’s work programme for next year.
The ministry will also be completing full house subsidies in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo region.
Additionally, in keeping with the local government agenda which emphasises the primacy of local government, a number of housing schemes will be transferred to their respective local organs for their effective management and development.
This was according to a ministry release on Tuesday, in response to an article published in the Guyana Times on October 19 titled “Jagdeo dismisses President’s parliamentary “ploy.” Given the importance of housing to holistic development, the ministry offered some clarity on the housing policy of the administration as a response to the assertions by the Leader of the Opposition.
The release stated that the Opposition Leader who was “dismissive of this administration’s efforts at salvaging the approach to housing, boasted of the distribution of over 100,000 house lots under the PPP as compared to the number of housing solutions built by this administration, in addition to the distribution of serviced lots, over the past three (3) years. The truth is that the old housing model inherited which primarily focused on the divestment of land and the development of site and services schemes resulted in an alarmingly low occupancy rate. This model has proven over the years to be a flawed and failed approach to satisfying the housing needs.”
During the period 2011-2015, thirty-eight (38) schemes were developed at the cost of approximately $13 Billion and yielded approximately 20,000 house lots. With an additional $16 Billion required to complete the infrastructural work, less than 4000 units were built with an occupancy rate of 20%. This meant that 80 percent of the house lots were undeveloped which poses significant challenges, security and otherwise to the homeowners.
Over the past three years, the APNU+AFC administration has spent over a $1 Billion on consolidating the schemes ‘developed’ by the former administration at Zeelugt Phase Two and Three, West Minster, Perseverance, Hope/Experiment, Kilcoy/Chesney, Amelia’s Ward and Linden to name a few. Cognizant of the failure of this approach, the administration has tailored its housing policy to the provision of affordable housing solutions, in addition to the option of serviced lots, for low-income earners, state employees, and youths, a model that is expected to see an occupancy rate of 100 percent.
While the former administration had embarked on a ‘turn-key’ initiative under its “1000 Homes Programme,” it was overshadowed by the construction of a number of defective houses that had to be rectified by this administration. (Department of Public Information)