Charity squatters to be granted legal ownership of lands they currently occupy

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Squatters who illegally occupy government lands at Charity along the Essequibo Coast will soon have legal rights to the lands, President Dr Irfaan Ali announced during a visit to the area on Tuesday.

Dr. Ali, accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, said the area will be regularised and sought the cooperation of the squatters to execute the building of a road network there. Dr Ali said the Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues will visit the area later this week to facilitate the handing over of land titles and consult with residents for the construction of the roads.

President Dr Irfaan Ali (front) accompanied by Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha during a visit to the squatting area

However, Dr. Ali noted that to facilitate the project, the squatters will have to give up some of their lands and work along with the contractor.
“I can tell you now that it will be difficult [but] once there is a will in the community and the entire community wants the area to be regularised and are willing to make the necessary changes then we can find a way,” the President said.

Dr. Ali acknowledged the current narrow roadway will have to be expanded and therefore some of the squatters will have to relocate their fences and give up pieces of the land to facilitate the road. The President said that the willingness of the community is of paramount importance because if one person objects then the entire plan will falter.

Residents gather to meet the President and highlight concerns

“You guys have to come together as the community and decide with the planners where will be the main road and where will be the road network. I don’t want you to live like this. I want you to get proper roads but you can’t get proper roads unless we do what is right.”
“Ninety per cent of this is in your hands. I am sending the technical people. I am going to tell them to put down the polls and issue the notice. It is just to get the people in the community to comply with the notices,” Dr Ali said.

During the visit, the squatters told the president that many similar promises have been made to them before but are yet to be put into action. As such, the president assured them that his team will be sent to access the area.

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