Housing Ministry hands out 350 house lots in Charity; plan on course for 10,000 nationally this year

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The Ministry of Housing and Water will Friday and Saturday hand out an estimated 350 house lots to residents of the Essequibo Coast, with officials saying they plan to allocate 10,000 house lots per year across the country will be delivered.

The house lots being handed out this weekend are for two areas in Charity – St Buxton and St Joseph.

“I didn’t inherit anything so I am working hard to build a house for my family; renting place to place is very stressful,” said Jameel Hakim, 22, who was awarded a lot at St Joseph.

“This is more than a dream come through; this is my whole life. Life is very short; today or tomorrow I pass on, I will have something to leave for my family for them to live in and remember me,” an emotional Hakim said.

He went to collect his allocation letter with his wife Avonna Richards and their twin babies Jamar and Jamaica.

Residents will pay from $92,000 to $700,000 per house lot distributed in sections according to income levels.

Sherwyn Greaves, the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority, said the house lots are highly subsidised. He said it costs an average of $2.5 million to develop a single house lot, taking into account the roads, drains, other infrastructural works, and utility services.

Jameel Hakim, his wife and their twin babies at the Anna Regina Mayor’s Office after receiving his house lot allocation (Photo: News Room/June 25, 2021)

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, said works in the areas will cost an estimated $850 million. For next year, he said the ministry’s priority plan for the development of housing areas in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) will cost $3.2 billion.

He recognised that many of those who now finally have their house lots had been waiting for years. Greaves urged the allottees to build in the fastest possible time and not “leave the land wasting.”

Susan Rodrigues, the Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, said that when others don’t build, it means the communities are not up to the standard desired for a sustainable neighbourhood for all in the community to enjoy.

Minister Croal said the housing areas are being developed with spaces for community facilities and public open spaces.

The “Dream Realised” event at Anna Regina, where the house lots are being handed out, sees the presence of commercial banks and insurance companies, and the allottees were urged to engage them to plan to finance the building of their homes.  The banks at the event are GBTI, Bank of Baroda, the New Building Society, and Republic Bank.

Andre Ally, the Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Housing and Water, said the allocations to Region Two forms part of “the largest housing programme in the history of Guyana,” referring to the government’s plan to deliver on its plan to allocate 50,000 house lots in five years.

“The team at the ministry take our job very seriously,” he stated, noting that the allocation of a house lot is the beginning of a path to homeownership, which brings with it “pride and security.”

Ally announced that for this year, similar land allocation exercises will be held in Region 10 for allocations in Amelia’s Ward; Region Three for allocations in Malgre Tout and Versailles; in Region Nine for allocations at Lethem, and in Region Four for allocations at areas including LBI and La Reconnaissance on the East Coast of Demerara and Diamond and Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara.

Minister Rodrigues said homeownership is citizens’ constitutional right and it is the government’s job to facilitate it.

“We have every intention of delivering,” she said of the government’s housing plan, saying the government “will not rest” until it delivers.

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