Jun 02, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – The owner of the lands at Hill Foot, Linden Soesdyke Highway where approximately 20 homes were destroyed on Wednesday is claiming that the citizens who have taken up illegal residence there were served with notices over a year ago to relocate.
The citizens blocked a section of the Highway on Wednesday evening, in an attempt to get government to intervene. Kaieteur News understands that the residents returned to the Linden Highway yesterday and again burned tyres and other materials, blocking the free flow of vehicular traffic. This publication understands that two police officers were assaulted during a standoff with the protestors on the Linden Highway. According to reports on the scene, at least 80 civilians, including males and females, were involved in the protest on Thursday. It is also understood that a group of displaced residents also visited Freedom House yesterday afternoon to meet with Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Ashley Al-Meen, the owner of the land in a statement shared with Kaieteur News on Thursday clarified that she acquired the 17-acre plot after taking over a bank payment from the original owner, Fred Hilton. She shared documents with this publication to verify that the land was transferred to her and her husband, Lawrence Al-Meen.
The woman in the statement explained that the citizens who had already been living on the lands when she acquired it were given adequate notice to move. “I took it upon myself to enter into legal agreements with Mr. Hilton to pay off completely what’s owed to the bank, otherwise those people would have been thrown off without notice or warning, because the bank don’t have time – they need their money that’s how they operate,” she said.
The woman said that after struggling to pay off the loan, she approached the Court to acquire an Order to remove the citizens from her land, as she was not benefiting from the property and was mandated to make monthly payments. Al-Meen pointed out, “before entering the court, I had meetings upon meetings with everyone on that 17-acres of land. I have pleaded and pleaded but no one cooperated. They said I’m not the owner.” Nevertheless, the woman said she paid for each resident there to be issued a lawyer’s letter to remove from the property, over a year ago. She claims that after being served twice with an Order to remove, the citizens even tore the letters apart to show their disregard.
Subsequently, Al-Meen said she became frustrated and visited her Linden Highway land with Court Marshalls on May 20, 2023 when they were attacked by the residents. “On the second attempt, myself, porters and court marshals were attacked by these same people. Porters (were) beaten, two cars (were) completely vandalised, having a narrow escape for our lives. (We were) attacked with cutlass, bats, bottles and jucker,” she alleged. The woman said a vehicle was left behind and was severely damaged, with the battery even stolen.
In a more drastic move on May 31, 2023, the woman said she entered the area with members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in an attempt for there to be order in the activity she had planned.
Meanwhile, she also sought to clarify that the video being circulated on social media of a male resident being apprehended by the police came, was actually a man who had come out with a spear to attack the excavator operator. In fact, she said that the excavator operator was attacked through the window causing damage to the machine.
The woman said she believes she has been working very hard and the time has come for her to claim what it legally hers, especially since the persons there had ample time to vacate her property. She said: “rich, poor, average, struggling whatever the case may be, I want to know would anyone at all be able to endure the years of hardship I have faced with this issue? Would anyone want other people bullying them for what’s legally theirs? Would anyone want to be paying for something they are unable to benefit from?”
Al-Meen also noted that these citizens should not be burning the roadways and cause stress to citizens for simply refusing to adhere to the law, after having ample time to do so. Kaieteur News reported in its Thursday edition that the citizens were left to sleep on the Linden Highway after their homes were demolished just after lunch on Wednesday. Some parents were forced to hold their babies in their arms as they contemplated their next move. Some even were unaware that their homes were destroyed. “People come home from their jobs to find their houses flat on the ground,” one man commented.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo during his weekly press conference on Friday described the issue as a private matter. “At Hill Foot, we had nothing to do with that. It was a private action that the person took. I heard there may be police there because I saw this matter just before I came up to the press conference. We would investigate it fully.”
Opposition condemns “misuse of GPF”
The Opposition in a statement said it condemns the use of the GPF by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) against its opponents to “enforce the wishes of the wealthy at the expense of people in poverty.” The opposition said: “The demolition of ordinary citizens’ homes at Hill Foot on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway is another manifestation that the PPP government does not care for the people of Guyana. What is more saddening is that the regime is prepared to arm the Guyana Police Force and use force against the people of Guyana rather than address the real challenges that face the mass of people.”
In calling on government to end politicization of the Guyana Police Force, the Opposition said the destruction of people’s property by the regime and its friends, families and favourites is unacceptable and must be condemned by all. “Even worst is the use of the Guyana Police Force to intimidate and shoot innocent civilians. It is the courts’ responsibility to enforce court orders and not the Guyana Police Force. The Guyana Police Force’s role is to maintain law and order and not to turn up as a show of force and initiate disorder,” the Opposition added.
DECEPTION & CORRUPTION getting WORSE by the minute in GUYANA.
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