NDC raises objection over relocation of Lombard Street squatters to Mocha

NDC raises objection over relocation of Lombard Street squatters to Mocha

Sep 13, 2017 News, https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...-squatters-to-mocha/

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Members of the Mocha/Arcadia NDC with officials of the CHPA, last evening

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.

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NDC raises objection over relocation of Lombard Street squatters to Mocha

Sep 13, 2017 News, https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...-squatters-to-mocha/

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.

Relocation to Barnwell for Lombard street squatters

Aug 31, 2017 News, https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...rd-street-squatters/

The Broad and Lombard Streets squatters yesterday thanked the government for fulfilling its promise of providing better living conditions.

Deon Bramma

The Ministry of Communities’ decision to relocate the squatters to Barnwell, East Bank Demerara (EBD) was the result of a legal action by a land owner and a High Court decision, which led to a six-week eviction notice.
This initiative, which is part of the ministry’s effort to regularise housing, is a collaborative effort between the ministry and Food for the Poor to construct 72 single homes, each costing $1.2M to accommodate the residents.
The government will invest $42M on the relocation programme, which will be transferred to Food for the Poor for the construction of the houses to match the amount provided by the agency and $30M for the infrastructure development of the area.
Phillip Chase, representative of the Broad and Lombard Streets Squatters, told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that he has been living in the area for 15 years with his wife and children. He noted that he had tried previously to gain the attention of the government to offer some form of assistance to the residents, especially the children.
“We (Broad and Lombard Street squatting area) were not satisfied living in these conditions, so we had approached the previous government to visit the area which they promised that they will visit. They also promise that they will help us (in terms of lands) but they did not fulfill their promise. However, the government has changed and it is not even three years in office (they have developed a plan to relocate us) and we are very thankful for the government for what they are doing for us, especially since they said that there is lot more to be done,” Chase explained.

Phillip Chase

Chase said that he is thankful for the support given by the government and Food for the Poor, in recognising and understanding the need of the residents for a better standard of living. He pointed out that after inviting a number of ministers, they ‘shed tears and said that they will do something for us’.
Deon Bramma, a 20-year resident of the squatting area, said she had wanted to apply for a house lot, but certain restrictions prevented her doing so, particularly the number of down payments to be made before one could attain the land.
“When PPP was in power, when you go to housing, first thing they tell you is that you have to come with a $100,000 one time. You can’t come short, you can’t come this you can’t come that, but thank God that APNU win the election and we can get a better deal. We are getting our own house and our own land free of cost; we don’t have to pay for anything for it but build the toilet and everything, and pay our rates and tax and light bill”
Anetha Dash told DPI that she has been living in the squatting area for 23 years and decided to apply for a house lot at the Ministry of Housing (now Ministry of Communities) but never received a response.
“I applied at the Ministry of Housing since 2002 but they (Ministry of Housing) never contact me and even if they had contact me I would have been unable to afford the price for the land that they were selling, which was $500,000 and other kinds of price at that time,” Dash explained. She noted that she is grateful for the initiative taken by the ministry and Food for the Poor to have the residents relocated to healthier living conditions.
It was highlighted that the area has approximately 68 adults and 80 children with obvious housing, sanitation, and health problems, as well as limited work opportunities and scant social services.
Minister within Ministry of Communities, Valerie Adams-Yearwood, highlighted that though the government and Food for the Poor will be financing the project, the style of the homes will be readjusted from the Food for the Poor models, with a back patio and a shaded verandah.
A plan is also expected to be created for the residents to pay for some of the materials, such as the water meters among other amenities, the minister said.
Ivor Allen has been awarded two contracts for the infrastructural development works (roads, drainage and water) at Barnwell, EBD, which is scheduled to be completed within eight weeks.

NDC raises objection over relocation of Lombard Street squatters to Mocha

Sep 13, 2017 News, https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...-squatters-to-mocha/

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.

Interesting times with the original objectives of the Housing Ministry and the position of the Mocha/Arcadia Neighbourhood Democratic Council.

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