Jun 03, 2023 News
…as protest on Linden Highway continues
Kaieteur News – The Government of Guyana has pledged support to the residents of Hill Foot, Linden Soesdyke Highway, whose homes were demolished on Wednesday by the legitimate owners of the land.
Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) in a statement on Friday said it engaged with a number of persons who were residing at the location. Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy, CHPA Chief Executive Officer, Sherwyn Greaves and CHPA Director of Community Development, Gladwin Charles were part of the discussions held at the Housing Authority’s Brickdam, Georgetown headquarters.
During the meeting, the squatters were told by the CEO that each affected household will be offered a plot of land or a turn-key house, based on their preference.
He also indicated that all the applications will be fast-tracked and urged the squatters to work with the agency. The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) is also offering the squatters land at Long Creek on the Linden Highway. The government statement added that persons also have the option of remaining at the Hill Foot land and applying for prescriptive rights.
Meanwhile, Minister McCoy further assured the squatters that the government will work with all those who are displaced. He assured that the government was not responsible for the eviction and urged them to ignore such allegations.
In the meantime, government has called on the residents of Hill Foot to refrain from the unlawful blocking of roads and damaging of property.
Kaieteur News understands that the citizens returned to the Linden Highway on Friday again setting fires to block the roads. They had vowed to remain there until President Irfaan Ali visit to address their concerns.
In videos circulating on social media, members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) were seen brutally beating a protestor. It is unclear what triggered the abuse by the officers.
In one video, two uniformed cops along with another male in an orange jersey were holding a male protestor, while another uniformed officer fired several lashes on the civilian’s hands. The protestor was hugging a post planted along the Linden Highway and repeatedly screamed “ow officer” in what appeared to be an attempt to avoid arrest.
Subsequently, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) in a statement condemned the violence by the GPF. The organization said, “Brutal enforcement of this nature is indefensible regardless of the validity of a Court Order. Apart from the direct trauma visited on the affected families, the nation was shocked by the graphic social media of mayhem generated by the supposed forces of law and order.” GHRA said it understands that over 40 children were left homeless as a result of the action taken on Wednesday where about 17 homes were destroyed.
“Reports provided to the GHRA stated that the police and Court Marshals had visited the community when most people were at work and children at school. People returned home to find their houses flat on the ground and possessions strewn around. A young woman was shot, her wounds seen by all on social media, another claimed her arm to be either broken or fractured, along with blood and beatings. Another woman was allegedly assaulted by six male officers and shots fired in her direction because she refused to move. A man was detained for videoing the scene,” the body noted.
On Wednesday evening, the residents of Hill Foot blocked the Linden Highway and burned tyres after their homes were demolished just after midday by the legal owners of the land, Ashley and Lawrence Al-Meen. The couple had taken ranks of the GPF to accompany them during the demolition exercise, as they were reportedly attacked by the squatters during two previous visits to the location.
Ashley Al-Meen 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 Hylton. She shared documents with this publication to verify that the land was transferred to her and her husband.
The woman explained that the citizens who had already been living on the lands when she acquired it were given over a year’s notice to move.
This publication reported that the citizens were left to sleep on the Linden Highway following the demolition of their homes 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.
DECEPTION & CORRUPTION getting WORSE by the minute in GUYANA.
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