Excavator sent to demolish squatter houses at Mocha set on fire
In the midst of a demolition operation at Mocha Arcadia/ Cane View, East Bank Demerara, defiant squatters reportedly set the excavator on fire Thursday afternoon.
The excavator operator immediately exited the machine and the fire was quickly extinguished by police assisting with the demolition operation. The fire started after channa bombs were thrown on the machine.
After the fire was extinguished, police, dressed in riot gear, used tear gas in an attempt to clear the area of the defiant squatters.
The houses of the squatters are being demolished to make way for the construction of the Eccles to Great Diamond Highway.
Government has been engaging the squatters for over a year and while the majority have relocated after receiving compensation for their houses, seven persons have remained in the community and are demanding exorbitant relocation fees.
The remaining squatters argued that their homes are not in the path where the highway is being built. The government has noted that while it stands ready to work with the squatters, the nation’s development cannot be stymied.
As such, an excavator was used to break down the houses and remaining buildings on the alignment. Persons were seen removing their belongings from the houses before the demolition. Their clothing, furniture and other items were laid out along the street opposite the squatting area and on the squatting site.
The bridge that gives access to the area was also broken down.
The squatters who relocated have been offered full compensation for their existing illegal property, a free residential house lot, a grace period to facilitate the construction of their new house and five acres each of lease lands by the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission.
The situation in the community remains tense.