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Dear Mr. Editor,
I note a release published by the Department of Public Information, published on August 15, 2021, in which the government is seeking to accredit the “Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Program,” as their initiative through the Ministry of Housing and Water, the Central Housing and Planning Authority. I wish to publicly state that this is nothing further from the truth.
I wish to set the record straight as it relates to this program.
The IDB and the PPP/C government in 2012 signed a loan agreement, number 274 1/BL-GY on June 21, 2012 for a sum of US$66.2M. There were several components to the program which include the Sheriff/Mandela rehabilitation at a cost of US$42M, the East Bank Berbice road project for US$8M and the remaining balance to be utilized to fund studies for the Wismar Bridge in Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice Region. This was subsequently removed from the IDB portfolio and funding was secured under the Caribbean Development Bank.
From the inception, this project was marred with massive fraud and corruption, which caused the IDB to threaten to pull its entire portfolio from Guyana. When the coalition took officer, the project was revisited, reviewed, and continued.
The Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility program was not initially part of the loan Component of the IDB. Notwithstanding, the loan was made possible because of the Coalition’s government policy to address the housing needs and making housing accessible and affordable to citizens. The total sum secured from the loan to undertake the project is US$34.5M. I must point out that this program commenced under the then Ministry of Communities, with the department of Central Housing and Planning Authority being the executing agency acting on behalf of the Government of Guyana.
Additionally, Mr. Editor, the following boundaries have been identified for the project, since they are within the Sheriff-Mandela Road rehabilitation: Georgetown to Grove on the East Bank of Demerara up to La Bonne Intention (LBI) on the East Coast and specific areas in La Parfaite Housing Development (Westminister, Onderneeming, Lust-en-Rust, Recht-Dor-Zee, Parfait Harmony, Phase 2. Note, all areas developed by Central Housing and Planning Authority. These communities cater for persons to benefit from “CORE HOME SUPPORT.” While ALL Low-Income Housing areas within the project boundary from Georgetown to Grove on the East Bank of Demerara up to La Bonne Intention (LBI) on the East Coast and specific housing areas in La Parfaite Housing Development (Westminister, Onderneeming, Lust-en-Rust, Recht-Dor-Zee, Parfait Harmony, Phase 2, to benefit with “HOME IMPROVEMENT SUBSIDY.”
The program has been divided into two types of Subsidies:
Core Home Support: This allows for one storey concrete building measuring 20’*20’ with an elevation 3ft from ground level, complete with front and back stairs, louvre windows, electrical wiring and plumbing, including two (2) bedrooms, toilet and bath, septic tank and a basic kitchen sink.
Home Improvement Subsidy: this project is to effect improvement works to existing residential building occupied by Low-Income households at a cost of $500,000.00. With this project, beneficiaries provide all the LABOUR to affect the improvement works.
In 2019, the sum of US$7.5M was expended to upgrade approximately 12km of asphaltic and concrete roads, including upgrade of Community ground in section C, Sophia and verification exercises commenced in La Parfaite Harmony for subsidies and Core Homes.
I wish to place on record that the Central Housing and Planning Authority staff under the leadership of the Coalition Government worked beyond the call of duty to ensure that all preliminaries were done, and potential beneficiaries were coached and guided accordingly to benefit from the program.
Mr. Editor, it has been one year since the Installed Regime is in office and is yet to produce to the Guyanese people their plan for the housing Sector. What we continue to see is the government taking credit for the coalition’s work. I have absolutely no difficulty in the regime forging ahead with projects or programs they have inherited from the Coalition government, but I do believe that Guyanese should be reminded that these projects and programs will continue, in the interest of our people and by extension the country.
Mr. Editor, in concluding permit me to share and remind Guyanese of the Coalition’s plan for “Guyana’s decade of development, overcoming crime, disease, ignorance and poverty.” In this plan, the Coalition highlighted its policy on housing between the period 2020-2029, “a roof over every head.” That is, every citizen should enjoy the right to housing. Every home, in turn, should belong to a community in which our citizens can enjoy good health, fresh air and clean water; where they walk the streets free from molestation, benefit from good roads, streetlights and pavements and where their children and have access to a sound education and facilities for play and recreation. The PPPc regime has No Plan nor Vision for the housing sector! Their past policies have shown that they interest is not to have wholesome communities, but rather “bush lots,” which they continue to practice.
I do hope that those persons who were identified as potential beneficiaries for the projects are not discriminated against and that they are treated fairly and justly.
Yours in service,
Ms. Annette Ferguson
Member of Parliament- APNU+AFC