Residents of Timehri are hopeful that the issue of their land titles is addressed before the holding of general elections which are constitutionally due before year end.
The residents were repeatedly promised that the matter would be addressed but to date it is still in limbo.
On a visit to the community yesterday, this paper was told that nothing had been done concerning the land titles they were promised by the government and they were unsure of their position in the issue.
Residents have their fair share of ‘run-ins’ with government officials who on several occasions demanded their removal from the said area.
These ‘run- ins’ have even resulted in the bulldozing of some homes and unfinished structures in and around the immediate area.
Several community meetings were held over a period of time to rectify the situation but still the situation remains the same.
One resident imparted that back in 1997 under the administration of then Minister of Agriculture, Reepu Daman Persaud, they were forced from their homes on the Timehri Base Road (with some residents being incarcerated).
They were told that the area was the property of the government, which was to be used for agricultural purposes.
The residents sought refuge in the upper Northern Timehri area which was covered by heavy vegetation and was then the dumpsite of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
However, according to the residents, the very area that they were ‘forced out from’, is today populated by persons who were eventually given land titles.
This paper also understands that some families residing in the northern Timehri area, prior to the arrival of the Base Road cast outs, had been given land titles by the late President Forbes Burnham for agriculture purposes.
Recently the administration had announced plans to remove several homesteads from the immediate vicinity of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, in the aftermath of the crash of a Caribbean airlines aircraft.
Residents of the area closer to the airport are very concerned about efforts being made to legitimizing their existence on the lands they occupy, since they have already established house lots which they were advised by government will cost them $100,000.
They claimed that prior to 2004, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing Philomena Sahoye-Shury and Community Development Council Director had already held discussions with the residents on regularizing the area.
But according to the residents, a few years ago, they met with Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn, airport officials and legal representatives of the airport to discuss matters of ownership of the land.
It was at this meeting that members of the community were told that they were being removed from the area since the land was the property of the airport and that plans for the expansion of the airport were being discussed.
The residents were given six months to vacate the area or be subjected to the demolition of their homes.
The residents also claimed that they were offered a fee to relocate and start their lives anew.
But they claimed that the money offered was inadequate since the cost of moving and rebuilding surpassed the fee offered.
Some residents have been residing for decades at the Timehri location and can’t seem to understand why there is confusion and push around in obtaining legal documentation for their properties.
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