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Housing and Water Minister, Mr. Collin Croal, dismissed allegations the government is discriminating against some sections of Guyanese in the housing programmes being rolled out countrywide.
According to the minister, “We don’t practice discrimination, we take into consideration one variable and that is you have to be a pending applicant.” The statement was made during his recent land allocation exercise at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, Region Three. The minister provided no evidence as proof there is no discrimination.
The Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), individuals and sections of civil society have acussed the government of discriminatory practices in house lots allocation.
But according to the minister, “If the demographics look a particular way here [in Region Three], it is what is it is.” The Guyana Census will show, unlike in Linden/Region Ten that is predominantly of one ethnic group, the village of Uitvlugt is multi-ethnic. The villages surrounding Uitvlugt; Zeeburg, Stewartville, Den Amstel, Anna Catherina are noticeably mulit-ethnic.
The government said when it took office in August 2020 it met a backlog of 70,000 applications and only 7,000 house lots were distributed during the coalition’s five-year tenure. After 23-years in government the People’s Progressive Party/Civic left office with a backlog of 25,000.
In September 2015, the Guyana Information News Agency (GINA) reported that the Ministry of Communities was working to clear a backlog of approximately 25,000 applications for land titles and transport.
The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Minister within the Minister of Communities, Ms. Annette Ferguson, writing in Village Voice (August 15, 2021) said between May 2015 to May 2020, twenty-one (21) New Housing areas were established, namely:
1.0 HOUSING AREAS
|NO.||DEVELOPED SCHEMES||NO. OF LOTS||NO||SCHEMES TO BE DEVELOPED||NO. OF LOTS|
|1.||Pln. Recht Door Zee, WBD||25||11||Pln. Mon Repos, ECD||202|
|2||Parcel 123-125 Providence, EBD||1258||12||Pln. Vigilance, Bladen Hall and Strathspey, ECD||848|
|3||Section ‘D’ Non Pariel, ECD||30||13||Pln. Annadale, ECD||377|
|4||Pln. Providence Phase IV, EBD||97||14||Pln. La Bonne Intention, ECD||455|
|5||Pln. Peter’s Hall Block 11, EBD||279||15||Parcel 115 Providence, EBD||193|
|6||PP La Penitence, Georgetown||18||16||Prospect Phase 3, EBD||614|
|7||Amelia’s Ward, Linden||129||17||Pln. Cummings Lodge, Georgetown||370|
|8||Pln. Experiment, WCB||52||18||Pln. Experiment, WCB||670|
|9||Pln. Onderneeming, WBD||19||19||Pln. Fortland/Ordinance, EBB||251|
|10||Pln. Prospect Tract ‘E’, EBD||186||20||#75 Corriverton,||257|
|TOTAL LOTS||2068||21||#79 Corriverton||36|
Since returning to government, Minister Croal said, the PPP/C has implemented an aggressive national housing programme that has seen over 17,000 house lots distributed to Guyanese in just over two years.
According to him some 1,200 turn-key units are currently being constructed in Regions Three, Four, Six and Ten. These homes are for moderate to low income workers and young professionals.
Guyana’s housing programme has not kept pace with modernity. The programme is also a far cry from what it was in the 1960s to 1970s. Housing developments in that period were not house lots given out in underdeveloped areas, overtaken by weeds, no proper drainage, irrigation, road, water system, electricity, sewage, and other basic infrastructures. Those developments had an orderly and aesthetic pleasing lay-out of turn-key houses, along with proper roads, drainage and irrigation, police outpost, shopping centre, sewage, electricity and running water in the homes.