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–—but Norton says transaction suspicious as cheques made from private account
The Government, through the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) and the Ministry of Finance, has reportedly offered a single squatter in Cane View – an unregularised community near Mocha – as much as $30M to relocate, however, cheques issued to date came from a private bank and not the Bank of Guyana.
This is according to the Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton, who told the press on Thursday that the entire transaction appears very suspicious.
“It appears to me that it is PPP activists, who are purporting to be representatives of the Ministry of Finance and once they get an agreement…they issue a cheque, that comes from[a private bank and], not the government, so that raise question marks,” Norton explained.
Norton, who was recently elected Leader of the Opposition, said the Ministry of Finance must offer clarity on the situation.
Cane View is home to approximately 35 households and well over 100 residents. However, in September, 2021 CH&PA signaled its intention to have the squatters relocated in an effort to facilitate the Eccles to Great Diamond four-lane highway. As part of its resettlement and relocation plan, CH&PA said it will provide the squatters with house lots, and aid in the rebuilding of structures based on valuations done.
APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, Nima Flue-Bess said the transactions seem very corrupted. “Interestingly, though they purport to be operating on behalf of the government, the people who have accepted their offer have been paid with cheques from a private bank. This stinks of corruption and PPP/C collaboration to deprive these African Guyanese of lands they occupied for over twenty-five years. The people of Mocha Arcadia and PNCR call on the PPP/C regime to end this nonsense and clarify this issue,” MP Flue-Bess said as she sat alongside Norton.
She said while some residents in the area have opted to be relocated once compensated, others have objected, however, they have been reportedly threatened that their houses will bulldozed.
“Important as well, these people have been involved in agriculture and rather than promoting agricultural development, the people are being forced to sell their livestock and to accept the PPP/C offer to move to a new location. However, those who have not accepted this offer are being threatened and told that their homes will be destroyed. It is unfair and indicative of the greed of the PPP/C operatives involved in this evil scheme,” the MP said.
She said while the Government had initially argued that the residents of Cane View were in the path of a new road to be built on the East Bank of Demerara, such is not the case.
According to her, the Government is engaging in a devious scheme to deprive residents of the opportunity to have lands for which value will go up with the construction of the road.
MP Flue-Bess said Guyanese deserve a Guyana where all are treated equally.
“We call on the PPP/C to end this crusade of discrimination, domination and control aimed at depriving African Guyanese of land. Such actions will increase the tension in Guyana and confirm that there is no attempt to build “One Guyana,” the MP said.