Aug 15, 2017 News
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Lelon Saul
yesterday revealed that the Authority is looking to reclaim over 100 acres of land that is currently in the hands of Baishanlin.
It seems that Baishanlin is the first of many companies that the CH&PA plans to go after.
The land in question is located at Providence. Saul told the media that the Authority is already in the process of taking legal action.
At a press conference hosted at the CH&PA’s Brickdam location, Saul assured the media that the Authority will not allow the matter to rest until those lands are reclaimed.
“We are presently pursuing legal action…You know our judicial system is kind of slothful.”
Saul stressed, “We are moving forward, but it will take some time.”
The CEO said that Baishanlin and its associates have not lived up to the terms and conditions of the agreement of sale, which includes development of the land. He said that the more than 100 acres of land was sold to Sunset Lakes. Sunset Lakes was owned by Brian Tiwarie.
Saul said that the company now has new directors, as it was sold to Baishanlin.
The land was not supposed to be sold. The CH&PA agreement is very specific about what a developer can and cannot do with it.
Earlier this year, CH&PA warned that it will soon repossess lands from those private developers and house lot beneficiaries who have breached their agreements. It said that that was a move to pave the way for the development of more low and middle-income housing solutions for Guyanese.
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.
He pointed out that many of these private developers still owe CH&PA money and this would make it easier for the authority to repossess the lands.
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.
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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