Gov’t offers land, turn-key houses to Hill Foot squatters

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The government has intervened in the private dispute between squatters at Hill Foot, Soesdyke Highway and land owner, Lawrence Almeem, which escalated into a violent protest over the past two days.

On Friday, with Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy and Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) Sherwyn Greaves, met with the squatters at the Ministry of Housing’s Brickdam office and offered them lands and turn-key houses.

In a statement issued on Friday, the CHPA said in order to ensure the residents are provided with a “safer” environment, the government is implementing a relocation and resettlement programme.

“CEO Greaves stated that each household will be offered a plot of land or a turn-key house, based on their preference,” the statement noted, adding that the squatters can either remain at the Hill Foot land and apply for prescriptive rights or take up the land offer at Long Creek by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC).

The squatters meeting with Minister McCoy and CEO Greaves (Photo: CHPA/June 02, 2023)

“He indicated that all the applications will be fast-tracked and urged the squatters to work with the agency.”

Additionally, Minister McCoy assured the squatters who were displaced that they will be given government support.

“He reaffirmed that the government is in no way responsible for the eviction and urged them to ignore falsehoods spewed by the political Opposition,” the CHPA statement noted.

While this is ongoing, squatters are urged to refrain from the unlawful blocking of roads and damaging of property.

After engaging the squatters to remove from his private lands in 2019 and being met with refusal, Almeem finally took action on May 31, in keeping with a court ruling and demolished structures that were on land, evicting several families.

Some of the Hill Foot squatters (Photo: CHPA/June 02, 2023)

On April 3, 2023, High Court Judge, Fidela Corbin-Lincoln ruled in the case and ordered all 12 squatters to remove from the private 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.

On Thursday, the Guyana Government refute allegations that it is involved in the demolition activity.

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