Ferguson’s motion for special housing committee defeated

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A motion calling for the creation of a Special Select Committee to review, among other things, charges for house lots for Guyanese was Friday afternoon defeated in the National Assembly.

The motion was presented by Opposition Parliamentarian, Annette Ferguson who in spirited presentations, defended the necessity of such a motion.

For her, such a committee would help stakeholders better understand some of the challenges in the housing sector and then pursue targeted remedial interventions.

“Once we have this Committee established, we will be able to make recommendations that we need better quality assurance so that when the government is building houses, our people must have a strong and quality house to live in because it is not easy, Sir, to take out a loan and having to repair a home,” Ferguson said as she wrapped up her contributions before the motion was put to a vote.

Per the motion, the Special Select Committee, on completion of its work, would submit to the National Assembly a detailed report with its recommendations and ask that the House approve of the Ministry of Housing and Water to incorporate the suggestions into its policy.

But the government side out rightly opposed the motion.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal challenged the appeal, noting a lack of evidence supporting the assertion that his ministry’s policies were responsible for the financial constraints faced by Guyanese. Instead, he said the government’s housing drive has been a comprehensive one, covering development such as road construction, bridges, water distribution, electrical networks, and land preparation in both new and existing housing areas.

Then there was Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh who also rejected the motion and explained that it was unnecessary.

“We don’t need a committee to engage with stakeholders in society… Every day we are engaging stakeholders,” he said.

He continued, “APNU can set up a committee if they want and they can engage with stakeholders and get ideas if they want, no problem.

“… While they are convening their committee, yet another committee, and consulting with whatever stakeholders they want to, we will continue to build out and develop new housing areas, we will continue to develop new house lots.”

The government, with its majority in the House, was able to easily defeat the motion through a simple majority vote.

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