The Mocha/Arcadia Neighbourhood Democratic Council, (NDC) has raised objections to a proposal by the Central Housing and Planning Authority, (CH&PA) to have residents of Lombard and Broad Streets, Georgetown relocated there.
Earlier this year, the Housing Ministry announced a plan to relocate residents occupying shacks at the corner of Lombard and Broad Streets, Georgetown.
The decision was taken following a stakeholders meeting with officials from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Communities’ Department of Housing.
The agencies had committed to improving the lives of the residents, who have expressed the desire to have “turnkey” homes built for the 56 families living in the area.
“We are looking at the possibility of building core homes so that when we remove the people from here, we’re going to put them in a house rather than [give them a piece of] land,” Minister within the Ministry of Communities, with responsibility for Housing, Valarie Patterson, had said during a visit to the settlement.
However, the recent actions of the officials attached to the Central Housing and Planning Authority,(CHPA) to have Lombard Street residents relocated to sections of Mocha have left members of the Village Council disgruntled.
Kaieteur News understands that the NDC expressed its dissatisfaction after officials of the CHPA took initial action to relocate the residents to a section of the East Bank Demerara (EBD) community without consulting the Village Council.
Members of the Council therefore noted that it was only ethical that CHPA consult the NDC before acting on their proposal.
“There were no consultations and therefore as the Local Authority organization, we view it as an act of disrespect,” Chairman of the NDC, Rudolph Adams, said during a meeting with officials of the CH&PA Monday evening at the Village Office to discuss the issue.
“Also, I think it is not fair on our community that based on your plan, 49 families from Lombard Street are placed here,” Adams said. Mocha has problems of its own without adding the socio-economic problems of Lombard Street residents to the equation, he added.
“Mocha is not without its fair share of problems but I believe that bringing 49 families here can only result in added social destruction to the small community.
“Because, as with any community, the people of Lombard Street have their own culture. Having 49 families relocated to one area will not help solve the issues of drugs and crime. They will just have a new place to continue their way of life.”
Members of the Council echoed similar sentiments. The Council was widely in favour having the Lombard Street residents relocated to various housing projects.
The Councilors believe that this will help in terms of having them conform to a new culture of living.”
NDC Councillor, Raeburn Jones, noted, too, that the area demarcated for the relocation of Lombard Street residents is prone to flooding.
He stressed that the Central Government needs to work with the NDC to improve the drainage in various sections of the community.
By the end of the meeting, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CH&PA, Lelon Saul, committed to better consultations with the Village Council
“We are definitely open to suggestions and discussions with the Council and we hope to work with the NDC and community on a number of issues,” Saul said
The Council is slated to host consultations on the issue of relocation with members of the community on Sunday.
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