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A house at Success Squatting area that was built high enough to avoid being flooded

A house at Success Squatting area that was built high enough to avoid being flooded

October 16 ,2020

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Some squatters have started to vacate settlements at Success, East Coast Demerara, after a confrontation led to police firing pellets at them.

Some of the squatters who settled on the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo)-owned lands at Success told Stabroek News that they were unsure why the police fired at them when they had done nothing, although some have indicated that there was a confrontation between one of the GuySuCo guards and a squatter, which led to the firing of pellets to deter the squatters.

Some persons have said they were injured and were leaving the area to seek treatment, while others said they would not be retuning. Some who maintain they have no other place to go have said they will remain on the land, which has been flooded in recent days.

Two weeks ago the police fired pellets and teargas at the squatters as GuySuCo made an attempt to get them to remove from the land. There was a claim then that the squatters where being “aggressive” and “hostile” during the confrontation, hence the use of force.

Some squatters told this newspaper that they believe the move to take back the land has been  prompted by the burning of the cane fields in the area. They said that they think that the move to remove persons from the land because the cane was burnt should affect all the other persons who are squatting in other areas since “they want land to plant cane”.

By use of a large pump, the company has started the process of flooding the land. On Wednesday when this newspaper visited the site, the water was beginning to inundate the homes which were on low-lying plots and those which were slightly above the ground. Higher houses were not touched by the water but materials purchased were washed away or soaked. However, there was some relief for the squatters yesterday when the pump experienced mechanical difficulties and the water which they feared would continue to rise started receding. But they explained that prior to that the water had quickly moved along the paths dug by the excavators. One man yesterday said that the water had moved from just near the trench which is connected to a dam and had gone further inward, meaning that the water would soon completely flood the area.

The squatters were asked why they haven’t vacated since the flooding doesn’t seem like it will stop and they responded that they settled in the area after assurances by government officials, including the Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal and the Region Four Chairman, Daniel Seeram. The squatters have also claimed that rallies held by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic saw other officials make promises that lots would be allocated and that the squatting area would be gifted to them. Other squatters have said that they were told that they would be given lots if they develop the area. And although two weeks ago GuySuCo informed the squatters that they needed to vacate, the squatters say they were not given proper notice. Officials had also said that trucks would be provided to help the squatters to move but none was provided and instead the squatters were visited by an excavator.

Some persons continued to complain that young children, elderly and sickly persons reside there and the treatment is unfair and uncalled for.

Persons living at Success said that with the water rising they fear that dangerous reptiles can be drawn to the area.

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Nigel Hinds resigns from NICIL over treatment of Success squatters

Nigel Hinds
Nigel Hinds

Accountant Nigel Hinds today resigned with immediate effect from the Board of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) over the manner in which it has handled squatters at Success on the East Coast of Demerara.

The state holding company NICIL has begun flooding squatters out of the area and the police have fired pellets on several occasions when they said tensions rose and there were confrontations. Teargas has also been used on the squatters.

Sources say in his resignation letter to NICIL Chair Paul Cheong, Hinds said that he wanted to disassociate himself from the “inhumane actions and onslaught on Guyanese residents that occupy the Success area on the East Coast of Demerara, an area of land that is owned by NICIL and not by the Guyana Sugar Corporation.

“Tear-gassing and shooting pellets on the residents of Success, destroying bridges and homes, flooding the area where they reside, are crude, cruel and callous actions; actions that cast a gloom over our nation.

“My continued presence on the NICIL Board creates the public impression that I support the barbaric and atrocious acts mentioned above; I do not support these actions, thus my resignation”.

Some of the residents in the area have refused to remove despite the flooding of the area.

Source:

@Mitwah posted:

How can Dr. Ali be so inhumane to these poor people?

Because he is in the bosom of big business and imperialists.  This is what has become of Jagan's party.  If you want to know how this is going to end read Cheddi's various pieces on capitalism.

@Totaram posted:

Because he is in the bosom of big business and imperialists.  This is what has become of Jagan's party.  If you want to know how this is going to end read Cheddi's various pieces on capitalism.

The squatters will be given house lots eventually as soon as they fill out the necessary applications.  People of success used to kill for Jagan. I am not surprised that the AFC misguided them.  They will see the light again and kick the AFC goons to the curb. The AFC is dead.

Totaram, life is a bytch, just like yours. Now fly away with your broomstick.

@Ramakant-P posted:

The squatters will be given house lots eventually as soon as they fill out the necessary applications.  People of success used to kill for Jagan. I am not surprised that the AFC misguided them.  They will see the light again and kick the AFC goons to the curb. The AFC is dead.

Totaram, life is a bytch, just like yours. Now fly away with your broomstick.

You have got the right to be miserable after a few.

@Ramakant-P posted:

The squatters will be given house lots eventually as soon as they fill out the necessary applications.  People of success used to kill for Jagan. I am not surprised that the AFC misguided them.  They will see the light again and kick the AFC goons to the curb. The AFC is dead...

The people of Enterprise, ECD were loyal supporters of CBJ. The village has a Squatting Scheme.

Last edited by Athena
@Ramakant-P posted:

The squatters will be given house lots eventually as soon as they fill out the necessary applications.  People of success used to kill for Jagan. I am not surprised that the AFC misguided them.  They will see the light again and kick the AFC goons to the curb. The AFC is dead.

Totaram, life is a bytch, just like yours. Now fly away with your broomstick.

If you had my life you would be flying first class.  Yours appears to be one of wallowing , in the mud and in utter stupidity.  Chupidness na gat cure.

@Mitwah posted:

PPP treating these people like rats. Where is Ali?

The PNC regional government treating coolies like rats. That's how they treated you before leaving for Canada. There was no food to eat and they couldn't run Burnham's Coop-shops. The people were staving then and they would have again if the Coalition which you supported had won the election.

Thank God for Jagdeo and Ali, the PPP won.

CDC conducting needs assessment of Success squatters – PM Mark Phillips

…Graham’s Hall school being prepped as shelter even as squatters refuse to relocate

https://guyanatimesgy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Success-1.jpgPrime Minister Mark Phillips meeting with the Success squatters on Saturday

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) is currently conducting as a needs assessment of the squatters at Success, East Coast Demerara, while simultaneously preparing the Graham’s Hall Primary School as a potential shelter for those persons.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Brigadier Mark Phillips visited the area and offered shelter to the persons squatting on lands belonging to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). However, this offer was rejected by the squatters, who are still refusing to remove from the lands even as GuySuCo is preparing to resume cultivation of sugar canes.

When contacted on Sunday, Prime Minister Phillips told Guyana Times that despite the refusal to take up Government’s offer, a location for the shelter was nevertheless identified – Graham’s Hall Primary at Cummings Lodge, ECD – and efforts are being undertaken to prepare the school for occupation.

In the meantime, he noted that a needs assessment is being carried out by the CDC to ascertain how many persons and/or families should be catered for.

“The people said no [to Government’s offer] but we’re still going ahead with the survey so as to identify how many people will need some form of shelter. With the flooding likely to be continued, you may reach a point where the people who refusing now will suddenly say they need a shelter so we have to be ready,” the Prime Minister explained.

Meanwhile, Director General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, told this newspaper that the needs assessment is likely to be completed today.

“We’re trying to ascertain how many households in there, how many structures so people are still working there. It’s a very vast area, not a small area,” he stated.

Nevertheless, the CDC Head explained that on Sunday they prepared the school by cleaning and sanitising the building, installing adequate washroom facilities and setting up sleeping areas for the squatters to relocate, if or whenever they wish to do so.

https://guyanatimesgy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/CDC-2.jpgGraham’s Hall Primary School has been prepared as a shelter for the Success squatters

Overnight packages including hygienic supplies such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, as well as blankets and pillows were laid out.

“This place will still be available and… if anybody wants to come and sleep here, they can come,” Lieutenant Colonel Craig stated.

In a subsequent release, the CDC said the humanitarian crisis of displaced residents requires immediate action to stem migratory and health issues, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC Head noted that those affected by the flooding at Success can immediately contact the National Emergency Management System (NEMS) on 226-1114, 623-1700 and 600-7500 and make their way to the Graham’s Hall Primary School, where they will be housed.

Squatters have been occupying lands in various communities along the East Coast of Demerara including at Vryheid’s Lust, Success, and Chateau Margot. However, with GuySuCo now embarking on efforts to revitalise the sugar industry by reopening three estates closed by the APNU/AFC regime including the East Demerara Estate (Enmore), which is expected to recommence operations early 2022, attempts have been made to remove the squatters from the lands.

In fact, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has visited the area to commence the land application process for unlawful occupants, so that they could be eligible for a house lot. Arrangements are being made for other parcels of land to be made available.

It was previously reported that lands in 22 areas on the East Coast, East Bank, and West Bank Demerara; Linden; Berbice and Essequibo were approved in the 2020 Emergency Budget and this publication understands that allocations for the residents will fall under this project.

But still many are refusing to relocate from the squatting areas.

On Friday, President Irfaan Ali in addressing the issue urged those persons squatting at Success to accept the lawful method of acquiring home-ownership.

“Let me say to my brothers and sisters at Success, who we’ve reached out to on many occasions, it is not that we want you to be dislodged in the area. We want you to own your own homes too. That is why we sent the Housing team to see you. But there’s a right way in doing things and a wrong way. In Guyana, we have to get accustomed to doing things the right way. Otherwise, we’ll be developing communities that are not successful. We want to help you. We are going to move as fast as possible in this programme,” the Head of State noted.

GuySuCo had disclosed that some 17,000 varieties of sugarcane have been damaged by the squatters in those areas.

GuySuCo’s Chief Executive Officer, Sasenarine Singh was quoted as saying that while the squatters have been affected by steps taken in preparation for the recommencement of operation, the successful outcomes from the sugar mills at Enmore require a supply of one-year-old matured sugar canes. As a result, land tillage needs to commence next January.

It was against this backdrop that the sugar corporation on Thursday last flooded the field including the area where the squatters are occupying at Success, where a majority of the persons have taken up illegal occupancy.

However, the inundation of the plots at Success led to an escalation of the situation as armed men pounced on a security guard stationed at the Success backlands, disarmed him and shot at a drainage pump before escaping on a motorcycle.

Meanwhile, there has been outrage from some quarters over the treatment of those persons at Success. In fact, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Board member, Nigel Hinds has since reportedly tendered his resignation over his disagreement with the decision to flood the lands while persons were still occupying same.

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