Free lands given to Mocha squatters to facilitate construction of new road alignment

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Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal says that the government has offered lands free of cost to squatters in Mocha Arcadia who are occupying the area along the alignment of the new Eccles to Great Diamond four-lane Highway on the East Bank of Demerara.

The prime lands are in Farm and Herstelling.

“We have over 20 something persons who signed up and are in the midst of construction in Farm and Herstelling,” Croal told the News Room on Friday.

Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal (Photo: News Room/April 20, 2022)

He was responding to claims made by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) that the squatters are being forced out and that the new road alignment does not affect the residents there.

“At the rear of those lands, we have started two lanes, there [are] another two lanes that are to be constructed where the houses fall,” Croal said.

He further added: “They’ve [PNC/R] gone there to create mischief to say that the alignment does not fall in line of where the houses are, it is absolutely in the way.”

The alignment of the Eccles to Great Diamond four-lane was developed under the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration when President Dr. Irfaan Ali served as Minister of Housing.

It will be linked to the new Eccles to Mandela Highway.

Croal explained that there is a government reserve between Mocha to Herstelling along the alignment where there are approximately 34 houses that have never been regularised.

Croal said he had visited the area and engaged the residents before finding lands to relocate the households.

“We offered them a way out because with squatting you’ll recognize that they cannot be any formal infrastructure development for those households.”

And according to Croal, the lands offered to the squatters are very valuable, noting that a valuation exercise found it is worth more than what is currently along the road alignment.

“Where they have been relocated to is much more prime lands and [it is] land that has higher value so it is betterment for those persons.

“For the PNC to say that we are being dishonest and that there is mischief afoot for Mocha is far from the truth,” the Housing Minister contended.

He said 26 persons have already received their compensation and have commenced construction at the new locations, a process which is proceeding smoothly.

The government had previously noted that when the residents relocate to Farm and Herstelling, they will enjoy access to health care, educational and recreational facilities, as well as, access to basic utilities such as electricity and water.

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