20 Lombard Street squatters to be relocated to Prospect

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The Government has taken another approach to have a number of squatters relocated from Lombard and Broad Streets, Georgetown after plans were cancelled in 2017.

Deputy Director for Community Development at the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Donell Bess-Bascom told a news conference Tuesday that some 20 families will be relocated to Prospect Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara.

The Housing Authority cancelled plans in 2017 to relocate some 49 families from this same area to Mocha East Bank Demerara following strong resistance from persons in the neighbourhood who cited concerns about dumping an entire village with its own problems into a neighbourhood already plagued with social ills.

The Housing Authority then made the decision to have the squatters relocated to Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara but that too didn’t materialize.

Deputy Director for Community Development at the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Donell Bess-Bascom

“The CH&PA is currently having families who are occupying the sites there relocated in two phases. Phase 1, we are relocating 20 households from Broad and Lombard Street to Prospect and we have taken a very consultative approach with that, having the community entirely involved in the process as well as several public sector agencies as well as NGOs,” the Deputy Director said.

According to the Deputy Director, the families will now have their own homes and will eventually receive a title for it.

The Deputy Director noted that the aim is to have every person currently squatting to be living in a sustainable community.

“Squatting is huge challenge internationally and Guyana is no exception because it speaks to the whole issue of low affordability.”

Squatting along Lombard and Broad Streets

The CH&PA has done some internal restructuring to assign a specific unit to deal with squatting and a Memorandum of Understanding is currently in progress for a national inventory to be done on the extent of squatting in the country.

The MoU is with the United Nations Habitat Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (HPSUP).

The Deputy Director said an inventory was done some time ago but needs to be upgraded.

“Very often the areas spring up quite quickly and even within areas that you are aware the squatting increases and so we are in the process of getting that area sorted out with UN HPSUP so that we know what is the extent of squatting in Guyana [and] also to be able to determine where are persons squatting and who are the owners of these lands,” the Deputy Director said.

She explained when the inventory is completed it will be able to address the development of a settlement regularization and relocation plan for Guyana.

“Our current approach has been where the areas can be converted to being suitable sites for housing developments. But they are areas where Guyanese are occupying that are not going to be suitable for housing development.”

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