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Dec 19, 2015 News
– accuses Nandlall of fostering indecency, dishonesty
Junior Minister of Communities, with responsibility for Housing, Keith Scott, has blasted former Attorney
General Anil Nandlall, for his claims that the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) acted unconstitutionally when it moved to repossess properties belonging to beneficiaries of the Core Home programme.
While Scott has not denied that the authority repossessed the land, he stated that in some cases the homeowners were participating in other Inter-American Development Bank/ Government of Guyana (IDB/GOG) programmes, subletting and even attempting to sell the houses.
Scott said that all of this was in breach of the agreement and thus CH&PA moved to reclaim the properties.
“In each case, when the letters were sent out seeking to repossess these houses, the persons who were allocated the houses breached the agreement which they signed and violated the principles of fairness and equity,” the Minister said yesterday.
The matter came to the forefront on Wednesday during a press conference at Freedom House. Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, had presented letters from beneficiaries of the Core Home programme who had complained that CH&PA had repossessed their homes, without providing compensation.
“Now these people received their certificates of title, they are in occupation of these homes. They are very poor people, right across the length and breadth of this country,” Nandlall had said. “And I have here a series of letters sent out by the CHPA, revoking these certificates of title and taking back these homes. This is unconstitutional.”
Nandlall had observed that the principal reason offered for repossession was that the homeowners were not in occupation of the properties. He had described this explanation as “flimsy” and had stated that the homeowners were disputing this contention.
Asserting that this was the private properties of citizens, Nandlall insisted that the homeowners should have been protected under Article 142 of Guyana’s constitution.
This part of the constitution talks of protection from Government repossessing house lots, without compensation being provided, as a fundamental right.
However, Scott questioned whether Nandlall had “no interest in justice and decency” in light of the fact that the flagged homeowners were a “group of exploiters”. He labeled Nandlall’s agitation as “cheap politicking and deception.”
The Core Home programme originated back in 2009, when the then Government requested a US$27.9M loan from the IDB, to improve the quality of housing for low income families. The agreement that Government perpetuated in April of that year, became known as the Second Low Income Settlement’s Programme.
As part of the project, over 400 pilot core homes were constructed. The houses were defined as a minimum of 312 square feet with a sanitary block (septic tank, toilet, shower and a multi-purpose sink), concrete block for outer walls, floor in concrete slab, basic doors, windows, electrical wiring and water connections. The average cost for these core-homes was US$5,500.
The overall programme was mainly separated in three main phases, with the aim of benefiting 12,000 households. The first phase dealt with developing new sites and land subdivisions. This would have provided new house lots with connections to basic infrastructure such as streets, sanitation, power, electricity and drainage.
The target areas under this phase were Block ‘8’ Tuschen; Section EE Non Pareil; Ordnance Fortlands, Berbice; No. 76 village; Five Miles Bartica; Amelia’s Ward; Bell West and Recht Door Zee phase 2.
The second phase dealt with consolidating existing housing schemes, to complete and rehabilitate infrastructure and services. The seven areas under this were Westminster phase 1; Area B Lusignan; Tabatinga; Onderneeming phase 1; Block D Bath; Amelia’s Ward phase 2 and Recht Door Zee phase 1.
The third phase dealt with upgrading squatter settlements. The areas that the strategy dealt with in this regard were Section D Sophia; Binkey Alley, Lusignan; Area R Ankerville; Block 5 Ankerville and Eliza and Mary.
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