…APNU demands names, locations, prices paid
By Gary Eleazar
There is currently a great deal of uncertainty surrounding today’s sitting of the National Assembly, especially as it relates to a pending No Confidence Motion. But from all indications, prime real estate issued to private developers will come under the microscope when the National Assembly resumes after a prolonged recess period.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), has tabled a number of queries in the form of official questions, some of which zero in on lands allocated to private developers over the past decade.
APNU’s newcomer, Annette Ferguson, is seeking to elicit from the Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali, what criteria was used for the allocation of lands to these private developers.
The first time Parliamentarian who took her Oath of Office following the 2011 elections, wants the Housing Minister to outline to the nation, whether competitive bidding is being used for the approval of land allocation to private home developers.
If in fact a competitive bidding process was used, Ferguson is demanding that the Minister provide answers on how the process was carried out and where and when were public advertisements done.
The APNU Member of Parliament is also looking to elicit from the Minister what the prices are for land allocated to private home developers and what are the factors that are taken into consideration when the price is made out.
She is also looking to have the Housing Minister supply a list of all private home developers to whom lands for housing purposes were awarded between 2003 and 2013, including cost per each, and their locations.
The Minister has over time boasted that the current administration has delivered thousands of house lots to the average Guyanese and this too has not escaped the attention of the APNU MP.
Ferguson is also demanding answers as it relates to the cost for house lots in the different categories (low income to high income).
The Minister is being called upon to provide the rationale for prices now charged for the different various categories listed.
Among the demands that the Minister will also have to provide answers to, is cost for house lots received during the period 2010 and 2014.
She is also looking to have the Minister explain the reasons for the delay in the processing of house lots after payments are made by individuals.
In recent years several large tracts of lands amounting to hundreds of acres have been portioned off to several private developers, some known others unknown, which has led to fears that these private developers are now exploiting Guyanese.
There is a stated fear among some stakeholders that many of these private developers would have acquired these lands at give away prices while they are resold for millions each, giving rise in part to the parliamentary scrutiny.
Plots of lands have been granted to Courtney Benn Construction Services, BK International, Buddy’s Housing Development and CARICOM General Insurances, among others.
A piece of land aback of the Providence Police Station has also been awarded to Presidential Advisor, Odinga Lumumba, reportedly in exchange for farmlands that he reportedly gave up in Berbice.
Government has opened up new lands for housing between Agricola/Eccles to Diamond and had announced that it was developing 10,000 new lots. However, the Providence area mainly has been allotted for private development.
Buddy’s and Courtney Benn have both been granted 50 acres each for development. These lands lie about a mile back of former cane fields bordering Greenfield Park and Mocha roadway. A remigrant scheme is also being pursued in the area.
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