By Staff Reporter – February 21, 2019
OVER 100 Guyanese saw their housing issues being addressed by Junior Minister of Communities, Valerie Adams-Yearwood and other officials on Wednesday during the hosting of a Public Day at the Minister’s Secretariat.
Most persons came desirous of house lots and the minister was able to allocate lots at Cornelia Ida, Cummings Lodge and Mon Repos.
“My plan was just to see about 70 persons which I consider a great amount of persons to see in one day. However, I was able to deal with that number at about one thirty and we still have probably close to 100 persons outside waiting and I am going to see as much as possible how many of them I can accommodate,” she said, adding:
“It’s [difficult] to see that persons still have applications in the system dated 1995 and 1997 and 2002. On previous occasions, I’ve mentioned via the media about how many thousands of applications we have in the system that we met when we took office in 2015. But we’ve tried as much as possible, every piece of land that we develop, to have it fully allocated.”
However, the challenge is that if the Central Planning and Housing Authority (CHPA) is to deal only with old applications, younger persons who may have applied in years like 2016 would have to wait years before they can acquire house lots.
“I have to strike a balance and I have to accommodate persons from the old, way back and allocations that are new. I want to encourage our young people to start having their own homes so we have to consider applicants [past] 2015…but we also have to cater for those beyond,” Minister Adams-Yearwood said.
She added that she is proud to say that most of the qualified persons allocated CHPA’s housing units under the current administration are young, professional people looking to start families.
During her observations, she realised that most persons were desirous of receiving lots on the East Bank of Demerara and Central Georgetown but CHPA has no house lots in Central Georgetown.
Others, she said, didn’t mind getting lands in Cummings Lodge which they consider to be in proximity to the town.
However, few were enthusiastic about lands in Cornelia Ida as some expressed they had never even been over to the West Bank of Demerara.
“That is a major challenge that we’ll have to really look at and government will have to look at that also and see how we can carry more development to Region Three, because there is where we have access to most of the house lots right now,” she said.
She also emphasised on the government’s plan to build a new bridge across the Demerara River which she believes will increase business and interest in the West Demerara region.
“The issue of the bridge in the morning and in the afternoon is a major challenge and persons will say that they’re working in Georgetown; have their children schooled in Georgetown and they have to leave –if they’re living across the river— 5 or 5:30 in the morning and they get back home at nights,” she said. “It’s something we have to look at and I know the new bridge will bring a great ease to the residents of Region Three.”
Minister Adams-Yearwood said that while everyday can turn out to be “public day” at the office, she was delighted to have the special day set aside to answer to the housing-related matters and other concerns of citizens.
She indicated that the public day will now be repeated every two weeks.