There needs to be an “Urgent and just solution” to the ongoing controversy over the private land squatters have been occupying in Sarah Johanna, East Bank Demerara, so says the People’s National Congress Reform.
For more than 30 years, four acres of land have been occupied by squatters. There have been attempts by the government to remove them from the land. In the past this has been met with resistance and even protests. The squatters argued that the private citizen alleging ownership of the land has failed to provide the relevant documents to support his claim. However, this week, they were served with a notice from the landowner asking them to evacuate the lands. Failure to do so will result in legal actions.
In response, The PNCR called for the urgent intervention of the Ministry of Housing and Water to address the concerns of residents and to ensure they are treated fairly and respectfully.
“The residents must be allowed to remain in place until a full and satisfactory solution is found. The PNCR anticipates a just and sensible solution to this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation.” The statement read.
“Many of the residents reported that they have been living on the land for a number of years without hindrance. They further reported that two years ago, a businessman visited the area and informed them that he has purchased four (4) acres of land in the area and they will have to “get off the land”. What is most disturbing, residents’ spoke of the many insults and threats hurled at them by the purported landowner. These are ordinary Guyanese who are trying to make a life and livelihood for their families. Many reported that they have cultivated areas of the land. To remove them will only create hardships. Our nation can and must do better.” A press release from the PNCR on Thursday stated.
The party further stated that “Let us recall that in October 2020, these residents protested against their removal and publicly called on the PPP/C regime to resolve the issue based on a PPP election promise to do so when in government. Even more, the PPP/C’s promise to provide 50,000 house lots for low-income earners and other Guyanese remains a pipe dream. These failures are clear examples of the PPP fake election pledges to ordinary citizens.”
A recommendation was made by the PNCR to have the “Ministers of Housing and Water immediately meet with the purported landowner to ascertain whether the land is legally owned by him and for the subject Ministers to engage residents to ascertain whether they made applications for house lots and, if so, priority be given for the applications to be processed and an area in the housing scheme be allocated to them.”