Gov’t says committed to helping, engaging ‘defiant’ Mocha squatters


The Ministry of Housing and Water has issued a final public notice for squatters at in the Cane View, Herstelling and Mocha areas along the East Bank Demerara to relocate.

Some seven families are refusing to relocate and continue to stall the construction of the new Eccles to Diamond highway along the East Bank of Demerara.

They have reportedly refused to continue engagement with the government.

“The majority would have signed up and started the relocation process,” Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal told the News Room on Tuesday.

“Final notice to vacate has been served with a two weeks grace period,” the public notice published in the Stabroek News stated.

The image on the left shows the current structure a squatter lives in at Mocha while the image on the right shows the construction of two-storey and a flat house in Herstelling for the relocation of squatters (Photos: News Room/June 3, 2022)

It was further revealed that some $250 million was disbursed as compensation along with a total of $5 million compensation for crops.

The ministry also facilitated the process of installing utility services for some 20 families that have been relocated.

Additional assistance such as labour and building materials was also provided to the beneficiaries to complete their homes.

The notice said 20 persons have relocated to Farm and Herstelling while 15 persons are yet to relocate. Of the remaining 15, eight are at various stages of their relocation process while seven households remain non-compliant.

It must be noted that the law provides for the state to take back land or utilise the land for public purposes, such as projects that will benefit the nation.

The notice stated that the seven families’ refusal to engage the government “have resulted in the stalling of a massive development project, which upon completion will benefit thousands of Guyanese.”

Meanwhile, Minister Croal said they will have to think of a different approach to engage the seven families.

“They literally refuse to engage us and if they engage us, we will help them out.

“I will have somebody reach out to them again this week and if not, I would not want to preempt to say what happens next,” Minister Croal related.

Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal

In January 2021, the ministry began engaging residents about relocating and construction is already underway for the new highway.

The squatters who are refusing to relocate claim that there was never any engagement with them; others stated that the compensation was not enough and some said that they have cattle and other livestock that they cannot relocate.

While addressing the launch of the Global Action Plan Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme on Monday, Minister Croal stated that informal settlements or squatting remain a challenge for the government.

And so, the government is working on a strategic approach to address this issue.

The minister said the issue must be addressed frontally, especially since Guyana is seeing rapid infrastructural development.

To this end, the government has undertaken a study that disclosed that citizens must be made aware of the plans and programmes regarding informal settlements.

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