Hours before the Disciplined Servicesvoting on Friday, a government minister met with members of the Guyana Police Force to talk about house lots.
During the meeting with Minister with responsibility for Housing, Annette Ferguson, at the police training building on Camp Road, the ranks and officers were told to turn off phones.
In a more than 30-minutes recording, Ferguson is heard assuring that once the Coalition Government is returned to power, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) will be moving to ensure that they receive the house lots and homes.
The Opposition has since slammed the meeting, describing it initially as a masked attempt to buy votes for house lots and turn-key homes.
Late last evening, the Minister confirmed to Kaieteur News that ranks and officers had voiced concerns, and that she met with them on Thursday.
She said that she explained the situation leading up to 2015 that the Coalition met and outlined the process going forward.
The Minister promised to address their concerns.
Kaieteur News was told that on Thursday, the minister had three separate meetings with the ranks and officers.
In the recording, police ranks and others were told to turn off their phones.
Ferguson outlined the hardships of the CH&PA in sourcing new lands with the dependence on the Guyana Lands and Survey and the Guyana Sugar Corporation.
She stressed that in 2015, the Coalition entered office with almost 50,000 applications for house lots on file, dating back to the 90s.
She said that the Coalition found that house lots went to cronies of the PPP/C with examples of even Chinese investor, BaiShanLin, benefitting.
She said that this government has lowered the age of persons applying to 18 instead of 21.
According to Ferguson at the meeting, she had with her a tabulation of the applications of senior officers whose applications date back to the early 2000s.
There was a huge demand in Region Four and especially on the East Bank of Demerara for housing.
With a planned bypass from Ogle to Diamond, lands will be opened up, she said.
She said government has also been building homes, including duplexes and one and two-bedroom houses for families.
She told the police ranks that she will continue to look at applications dating back to the 90s.
While not committing to allocate “tomorrow”, she said that she knew Friday was a special day and “Y’all gun mek I smile.”
The lands that will be opened by the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission is located in the Great Diamond area, East Bank Demerara.
According to Ferguson, once she returns as minister, CH&PA will be pushing to ensure that the soldiers, police, firemen and the prison officers are catered for.
She said that Government cannot answer for what happened before 2015. Rather, former Housing Minister, and now the PPP’s Presidential Candidate, will have to answer about the backlogs.
Ferguson said that the prospects for housing sector will be “great” when the coalition returns.
She told the gathering of about 200 that it is the intention of President David Granger in a second term to ensure that there is adequate housing for all.
“Don’t lose hope, the future is bright…when we go back to Government we will be building houses.”
The minister urged that police ranks and officers to do the right thing when they vote on Friday.
“Don’t touch the box…for the first time voters, put the x in the middle (of the box)…”
She stressed that she is representing the government, so “Don’t stop the progress.”
Meanwhile, the recording appeared to have landed in the hands of PPP/C officials.
The party in a statement last evening that it is bringing the matter to the attention of the public, Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, local and international observers and all other relevant stakeholders.
“The party calls for this matter to be thoroughly investigated and for the Minister to be held responsible for inducement.”