– CH&PA lawyer moves to repossess
The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has warned that it will soon repossess lands
from those private developers and house lot beneficiaries who have breached their agreements. This comes as the CH&PA moves to pave the way for the development of more low and middle-income housing solutions for Guyanese.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CH&PA, Lelon Saul, said that the authority is set to go after those developers, who acquired vast tracts of lands under the previous administration, but have since failed to develop them.
“We are currently engaging these developers. We are encouraging them to develop those lands, to live up to the agreement of sale, and I should say that in some cases it is likely that we would move to repossess some of those lands,” Saul said at CH&PA’S mid-year press conference on Monday.
He pointed out, in a government statement, that many of these private developers still owed CH&PA money and this would make it easier for the authority to repossess the lands. Saul said that authority has commenced the repossession process.
“I can tell you that I would have instructed our Corporate Secretary to initiate actions to repossess lands from private developers who have failed to deliver.”
CH&PA has also forwarded many of the developers’ agreements to the Attorney General (AG)’s Chambers for legal consideration before engaging the other defaulters. This was done after a review of the agreements was conducted by CH&PA’s Corporate Secretary, Hannifah Jordan.
Jordan explained that the agreements were reviewed in two batches- one for discrepancies and two towards strengthening the document.
“When we review the agreements, there were two batches, the batches that were done in 2010- 2011 and the set that was done in 2013 and beyond. There were issues regarding the strengthening of those agreements and that is why the agreement in 2013 and beyond had additional penalties and conditions to cater for us in terms of whether you wanted to repossess or penalise the developer,” Jordan explained.
The issue has been provoking one for the administration and for thousands of persons who want a new home.
In the high-demand Demerara area, there are little lands available for building new housing schemes. There are more than 20,000 applications for turn-key homes and house lots currently on CH&PA’s database.
The administration, while on the campaign trail to the May 2015 general elections, had vowed to repossess the lands on the East Bank after it was discovered that many of the developers have failed in the conditions to build.
It was found that under the previous administration, a significant portion of the front part of the former cane fields, stretching from Eccles to Diamond, has ended up mainly in the hands of close friends of the national leaders and party officials.
According to documents in possession of this newspaper, 11 private developers have been given hundreds of acres of lands stretching from behind Peter’s Hall to Providence as early as 2011. Two more were allowed swaths of land in the Diamond and Golden Grove areas.
Still another 11 companies, as of July 2014, were set to receive lands from CH&PA for especially areas in the Little Diamond and Great Diamond areas. It is unclear what had been allocated.
One company, Luxury Reality Inc., which has lands in Providence, has listed as its Director/Secretary, Roopnarine Ramcharitar, a right hand man for Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop. Ramroop is the owner of New GPC, a company that was investigated by the Opposition for a number of questionable deals. He is the best friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Two other companies that received lands were Hi Tech Construction Inc. and Sunset Lakes Inc. Both companies are under the control of the Chinese.
Sunset Lakes Inc was controlled by Brian Tiwarie but that company is now reportedly owned by BaiShanLin, which has started building homes that range from $50M to more than $100M. Construction has stalled there.
It is unclear how BaiShanLin ended up with the lands from Tiwarie because the lands cannot just be sold. The CH&PA agreement is very specific about what a developer can and cannot do with it.
The other companies that were allocated lands between Eccles and Mocha were Queensway Dax Contracting Service, Nabi Construction Incorporated, Buddy’s Housing Development, Cumberland Developers Inc., Vikab Engineering Consultants, Kishan Bacchus Construction, Caricom General Insurance, Navigant Builders and Windsor Gardens.
Queensway has been allowed several acres in Golden Grove.
As of July 2014, those that had applications at CH&PA for lands were Buddy Housing Development, Queensville Housing Development, A&R Jiwanram Printery, Raydan Housing Enterprise, Lakeview Executive Homes, Gentle P. Elias and Brian Chase, Chung’s Global Enterprise, Prembury Consultants T&T Limited and Romell Jagroop Construction.
The Chinese owned Hi Tech Construction has also applied for lands in the Little Diamond/Great Diamond area.
Former Housing Minister under the administration of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, Irfaan Ali, had defended the mainly front lands that were placed in the hands on private developers, saying that it is not true that these were prime lands. He said that a planned highway at the back of the housing schemes from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and other interlinking roads have made the backlands almost as valuable.
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