The PPP spinners have always claimed and boasted that their party has done wonders with housing, distributing tens of thousands of house lots, opening schemes, etc.
I’ve always said these spinners were delusional. Kaieteur News has vindicated me with numbers.
$889 million made from selling house lots and land for private schemes in 2010 tells the story. This so-called progress on housing claimed by the PPP for the past 19 years has always been nothing more than a major money-making scheme.
The PPP takes the Guyanese people’s land, clears some bush from it, cuts a few narrow dirt roads and runs some water and some light poles and then sells it to the same Guyanese people for a fortune.
Guyana has 83,000 square miles (214,969 sq. km) of land. Land should be delivered way cheaper to the poor people looking for a better home. Instead, the PPP has concentrated on making as much money from selling people their own land.
The Ministry of Housing made $1940 million in 2010 and spent $692 million for a massive profit of $1248 million. In 2009, it was $1180 million in income and spent $226 million for a massive profit of $954 million.
The administration is obviously profiting from selling Guyanese people their own land.
The numbers clearly show that they are spending next to nothing on that land to prepare it properly before they sell it to Guyanese. No wonder we get housing schemes without running water, without electricity, mud dams for roads, no playgrounds, no schools, no medical centres and a palpable lack of community services.
The PPP spent 19% and 36% of what it collected from the public. That is a shocking number. It is no wonder Diamond Housing Scheme has only one asphalt-covered dam that could barely fit two cars side by side as its only ingress and egress. It is no wonder we get schemes without basic amenities. People are being asked by government to pay millions for a small piece of land with no amenities and poor infrastructure.
When those private businessmen who get huge chunks of land for next to nothing turn around and charge poor people killer prices for small pieces of land, it is another expose of the truth about failure surrounding the PPP’s housing policy.
Guyanese people are paying too much for land in a country with an abundance of land. The fact that the PPP is spending only about a third to develop the land they sell to Guyanese when they ‘give’ them house lots, tells us that the price of land is too high; tells us that this thing is a profit-making scheme being run on the backs of poor people already crippled by taxes and VAT.
There is no subsidising the cost of land to the people to whom it belongs. While the administration may distribute house lots, it is Guyanese like you and me who are paying an arm and a leg for those house lots.
The PPP forgets to mention that there are really no free house lots in Guyana. You have to pay for that land, and given these numbers disclosed by Kaietuer News, you have to pay a lot for it.
Land distribution should not be a profit-making scheme when people have to take on massive loans to build on those lands they have already paid too much for.
Making money from selling the Guyanese people’s land back to them ends up taking that money from the Guyanese people and giving it to government in profits, all $1248 million of it in 2010.
When you give a government running a corrupt country $1248 million from mostly selling land to struggling people, who knows where it will end up.
The Guyanese people are the ones who have made housing a success. Not the PPP. For it is the Guyanese man or woman, desperate to make himself or herself better in spite of the slackness and failure of the society surrounding him or her, who takes that overpriced piece of swamp without amenities – that those selling it call a house lot – and struggles to build something from it.
While those who can afford it possibly get preferential rates for their land in areas like Pradoville and Pradoville 2, the poor, struggling Guyanese man has to overpay for his. He bears the burden of a mortgage, not the PPP. He faces the demands of the bank when he misses a payment, not the PPP which sold him the land at a ripoff price. It is he and only he who has to face
the consequences of his action. If the administration distributes millions of house lots tomorrow, it does not change that it will make shocking profits on the backs of the struggling Guyanese who bought them.
Nor will it ever change that those who bought them have to lift the financial burden themselves in a country where 33% of their paycheques is lost to income taxes and 16% to VAT and another 5% to NIS payments and where cost of living is driving more and more people into poverty.
When the PPP talks of making possible the dream of people owning their own homes, it does not talk about poor-paying jobs, stagnant incomes, high unemployment and rising cost of living causing many of those living this so-called dream to endure a nightmare to enjoy the roof over a house on an overpriced piece of land a callous government ripped them off with.
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