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Some 350 residents of Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), benefitted from house lot allocations at the Ministry of Housing and Water’s seventh ‘Dream Realise’ housing drive exercise on Monday.
Cheyenne Faria, a 23-year-old nurse attached to the Lethem Regional Hospital, was one of the first to receive her house lot at the distribution exercise, held at the Amerindian Hostel.
Faria, who originally hails from Sand Creek village, South Rupununi, said she was grateful to have been given the opportunity to own her own home in the Lethem township, where she now serves.
“I was not expecting to get through so quickly…Hopefully I can start build my house as soon as the infrastructure is completed in the area,” she told DPI.
Eon Jacobus, another young professional employed at the Regional Administration office was excited to finally own his own house lot.
“I waited several years for this and it’s just exhilarating, it’s like a dream come through…This is a start, a foundation and as soon as possible I want to start building my home.”
The allocation exercise, the first of its kind in a hinterland region, was led by Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, MP and he was accompanied by Minister within the Ministry, Susan Rodrigues, MP.
Another 150 house lots slated for the township, will be distributed subsequently.
In his remarks, Minister Croal said the government is not only distributing house lots, but is investing billions of dollars in community infrastructural development in new and existing housing schemes.
In Lethem, $1.5 billion will be spent on infrastructural development in the CHPA housing scheme.
“This will see approximately 700 households receiving water, electricity and the construction of roads, community playgrounds and other facilities and a school. Contracts for these works will soon be signed as we have already put out the call for tenders,” Minister Croal said.
Some $94 million will also be spent on the construction of asphaltic roads and concrete drains in Tabatinga. That area and Culvert City Scheme will also benefit from the installation of 48 street lights.
Further, under the Hinterland Housing Programme, residents will benefit from full house and home improvement subsidies in two villages in each of the five sub- districts in Region Nine.
“Friends, we have not slowed down since we started. Like other regions too, Region Nine residents face the challenge of affordable housing. There is a backlog that we are working assiduously to reduce.”
Minister Rodrigues said the administration, in keeping with its policy of inclusivity, is pleased to have hosted its flagship housing programme in the Rupununi region.
“The ministry has been working to reduce that backlog and we want to ensure that we don’t just focus on Region Four…we know that His Excellency, President Ali has committed to 50,000 house lots and we know without a doubt we will be able to reach that target,” she said.
The ministry is currently constructing its first regional housing office in Lethem. Minister Rodrigues said the building is about 85 percent complete and will also house the GWI office to improve service delivery within the region.
The government has so far distributed some 9,000 house lots to Guyanese. This brings the administration closer to delivering on its promise to distribute 10,000 house lots annually to Guyanese during its first term in office.
Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock, Regional Executive Officer (REO), Carl Singh, Mayor of Lethem, John Macedo, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Water Andre Ally, were also in attendance. ( DPI)