Nine Annandale squatters receive keys to new low-income homes


Nine families who previously squatted along the sea defense reserve at Annandale, East Coast Demerara (ECD) will now benefit from better living conditions after receiving the keys to their new homes on Monday.

Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal handed over the keys to the low-income, two-bedroom homes which were built at Annandale New Scheme, ECD.

In September 2022, President Dr Irfaan Ali visited the community during which a total of 15 families were informed of the relocation plans.

Ten of them accepted the government’s offer to construct homes for them.  The other five opted for lands to construct their own homes.

During a handing over ceremony on Monday, Croal told the members of the media that the relocation of the squatters is an “upliftment” when compared to where the families previously lived. “This brings betterment for them and their families,” he said.

“They were living in that swamp when the water overflow from the seawall you would find that it’s not a healthy situation,” Croal noted.

The process was facilitated by the Central Housing and Planning Authority’s (CH&PA) Community Development Department, which has direct oversight for squatter relocation and regularisation. The families were engaged by commercial banks to source funding for the construction of their homes.

The houses were constructed to the tune of $5M each and the families are allowed to make extensions to their liking.

After taking up occupancy, they are expected to commence paying the loans.  On average, Croal said each family will be paying $24,000 a month. The loans will run for a 25 years period.

“We are happy because what this does is help us to be able to fast track for us to be able to have occupancy and for them to bring a betterment for their lives and for their families. A better environment for their children to live in,” Croal added.

The Minister, however, pointed out that the government is working aggressively to eliminate squatting and unregulated areas. At the same time, he said new squatters will not be recognised.

“I feel glad because for the past three year I was living at the squatting area. It didn’t have no electricity, no water and them thing. I does gah bore fah get water,” Ravendra Ramcharran who squatted for three years told the News Room.

Meanwhile, Rajesh Jaipaul said he already has plans to extend the home to better accommodate his five kids.

“It gone be better cause weh part I use to live when the rain fall you get flood and we didn’t get water and light. I trying buying a solar but the solar that still can’t help the family cause we got computer, we got thing fah charge…. I appreciate what the government do fah we,” Jaipaul related.

Jaipaul had been squatting for close to a decade. “I glad for the turn key home cause is nine years now I been squatting,” he said.

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