80% of lands remain unoccupied – Minister

first_imgThe Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan has announced that the ministry is changing the manner in which it allotted house lots after findings revealed that thousands of house lots allocated since 2000 remain unoccupied in several schemes across the country.Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan told a media conference on Thursday that the trend was worrying and alarming, as he explained that billions of dollars were expended to prepare the schemes for occupancy, but progress has been slow over the last decade.Communities Minister Ronald BulkanHe took the opportunity to remind the general public that is one of the main reasons why the Ministry through the Central Planning and Housing Authority (CH&PA) scaled back on the allocation of house lots and began the construction of housing units that will be readily available for occupancy.Minister Bulkan also revealed that between 2000 and 2015, from an approximate total of 66,000 house lots allocated, some 28,000 or 40 per cent remain unoccupied. “It makes no sense investing these huge sums of money for a rate of occupancy that is as low as 20 per cent,” the Minister said.The Minister reported that during 2011 and 2015, some 38 new schemes were developed boasting a total of 20,000 house lots but to date 80 per cent of those lots remain unoccupied. A total $12.8 billion was pumped into their development and $16 billion is now required to complete infrastructure works.Besides this, from a total of 4927 interviews conducted in 2017, the CH&PA only issued 1131 house lots with Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) accounting for the majority of 3122 interviews and 513 allocations.Bulkan questioned the sustainability of the model of housing development used under the previous Administration. He also reiterated that Government’s thrust to build housing units, provides more immediate form of occupancy, something they will continue to build on.Meanwhile, Chairman of the CH&PA, Elsworth Williams, made a commitment to meet with applicants in the system to ensure they are provided with housing in a timely manner. “We are going to continue this year to meet with those persons who have been in the system for all these years and have not been allocated their house lots. We have started last year and we want to continue.”It was also revealed that 1131 lots were allocated in 2017. In Region One (Barima-Waini), 52 lots were allocated; Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 28 lots were allocated; Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 27 lots were allocated; Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), 513 lots were allocated; Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), 20 lots were allocated; Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), 99 lots were allocated; Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), 132 lots were allocated ; and in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), 201 lots were allocated.Since last year, the CH&PA had promised to embark on a plan to repossess unoccupied house lots that have been issued to persons but have remained vacant. The CH&PA had finalised the list of defaulters and has commenced sending out letters to landowners, informing them of Government’s move.However, the CH&PA had noted that it will treat differently those defaulters who were allocated lots in areas that they could not access because of lack of adequate infrastructure. In fact, those persons allocated lots to areas that are without proper infrastructure are being advised that they can wait until infrastructure is put in, to begin to construct or they can visit the Ministry and be reallocated to an area where there is infrastructure.Late last year, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) announced plans to work towards identifying areas for new land development schemes in this year. Commissioner Trevor Benn said the GL&SC has been challenged to open new areas for houselot distribution as a result of limited resources.last_img

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