Gov’t says not involved in private dispute with squatters at Hill Foot
The Guyana Government is refuting allegations that it is involved in the demolition of property and eviction of squatters at Hill Foot on the Soesdyke Highway.
A statement issued by the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Thursday noted that this has been an ongoing dispute between the squatters and property owner, Lawrence Almeem.
The News Room understands that the owner has been engaging the squatters to remove from his private lands since 2019 and after they refused, he took the matter to court.
High Court Judge, Fidela Corbin-Lincoln on April 3, 2023, ruled in the case and ordered all 12 squatters to remove from the private lands.
The land owner finally took action on Wednesday, May 31, and in the company of officers from the court and the Police Force, some structures were demolished.
The household items of the squatters could be seen packed on the lands. The squatters, who the News Room understands moved to the area from Region One (Barima-Waini), took to the streets in protest.
They blocked the roads and lit debris on fire. The Joint Services eventually cleared the debris late on Wednesday night but on Thursday morning, the protest action erupted again and several persons could be seen fighting with ranks of the Joint Services.
More fires were lit and the road was blocked again. The ranks also fired several shots and some persons were hit with pellets.
The squatters claim that they applied for lands and in response, the government on Thursday clarified that the Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy met with them two months ago and provided a commitment that the government will fast-track existing land applications for those facing eviction.
“The Government has taken note of the spurious attempts by the PNC to attribute blame to the Government for the eviction of the squatters.
“This assertion is blatantly false and is indicative of the modus operandi of a failing opposition to fact-check national issues,” the government noted in its statement.
It further noted, “In their haste to score political points, PNC MP Nima Flue-Bess and Simona Broomes descended on the community seeking to fuel antagonism and hatred to further advance the opposition’s false narratives.
“This is an unconscionable approach by the opposition who continually seek to accumulate political dividends from tragic events at the expense of the pain and suffering of Guyanese.”
The government says it continues to appeal to the residents affected by the eviction to conduct themselves civilly and desist from engaging in further illegal activities such as blocking the Linden/Soesdyke highway.