No need for informal settlements, squatting – Housing Minister

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Promising direct intervention to address the issue of informal settlements and squatting across the country, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, on Wednesday assured that the PPP/C Government is addressing the issue, as it remains resolute that no citizen should be living under such conditions.

The minister was at the time meeting with residents of Belle West, West Bank Demerara (WBD), where he made a commitment to “frontally address the issue.”

He said the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is mandated to deal with informal settlements.

“There is absolutely no need for us to have continuing informal settlements. Part of my mandate as Minister of Housing and Water, is also to look at these aspects because communities cannot develop if we have a parallel implementation or parallel structures ongoing that is outside what is approved by the State, because you wouldn’t get development, you wouldn’t get water, you wouldn’t get electricity, you wouldn’t get road, so it is not beneficial,” he said.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal (right) meets with a resident of Belle West (Photo: DPI/April 22, 2021)

With the massive road development network soon to come on stream, Minister Croal said there will also be new land openings in Region Three. He said the many “spin-off” benefits from that project will impact the housing sector.

“The additional road network that will be put in place from Parika, coming all the way to the bridge, that road network will have big enough lands. And so, we are looking to even get further land to suit our allocation exercise.

“So now you understand when I say, there is absolutely no future need for squatting, because your government has a plan,” he said.

A report by the Community Development Council (CDC) states that there are over 70 families occupying lands in the Belle West community without proof of ownership. Minister Croal said the names of those individuals are already in the CH&PA’s system and they would receive assistance. He cautioned, however, that any additional illegal settlement will be tolerated.

This year, the government will spend some $14 billion on infrastructure development countrywide. [Extracted and modified from the Department of Public Information]

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