this letter should be published unedited by your favourite newspaper anyday now 🙂
the photo above shows then minister of housing and water irfaan ali giving prime miniser ralph gonsalves of st lucia a tour of his greatest achievement. september 2013. lowball to the end, he saw nothing shameful taking a head of state to inspect this disaster. these “homes” were built without a bridge to cross the trench. the pieces of wood over the water were placed there by the homeowner. price tag for a poorly built 20 x 30 flat house full of defects$4.9 million. with over a billion dollars spent, less than 60 of these ‘homes’ were completed!
A number of things are out in the public domain in relation to the Board of the Central Housing and Planning Authority. Unfortunately a lot of this information is totally inaccurate and dangerously misleading.
The Board made a mis-step in not appointing someone to deal with public relations but this is being remedied. While this is not an official statement of the Board, I think I can say that these views are shared by all members.
In my view, it’s pointless to go tit for tat responding to each and every statement and piece of information out there. Others may have differing views, but our primary mission is to refocus CH&PA towards its planning function and fix some of the “housing” disasters we inherited. However, fixing all these poorly planned and misguided “housing schemes” pieced together by the previous administration is not the primary goal of this Board. Financially this is impossible.
It’s is a difficult thing for many person to hear, but that is the reality. CH&PA does not have the estimated $60 plus billion it would take to fix the unfinished business of the previous administration. In many instances, monies were budgeted and spent in places where nothing was ever done or in cases when said to be done, there are no traces of it on the ground.
I should mention here as well that the job of the Board is not to arrest former ministers or others who misappropriated public funds or were engaged in fraudulent activities.
The Board working with management and guided by information, is in the process of fixing some of these disaster zones. We are not in the business of selling land but working towards developing sustainable communities for the working class and enforcing and strengthening the planning and zoning regulations of Guyana.
The house lot business of the PPP is a colossal failure that benefited the “private developers” and friends and family of the PPP. There are still 25,000 person on the list waiting for a house lot, while this number may not represent need it is significant. Hundred of acres given away to ‘private developers’ are empty and there are also over 40,000 lots allocated to persons that have no structure on them.
Scattered across the nation are hundreds of “housing schemes” that defy logic. While glorious things have been spoken about these places, the evidence does not support these inflated stories of growth and progress.
Pieces of land were surveyed and sold as “houselots” at astronomical rates in many instances with no regards for planing, zoning, economic opportunities or sustainability. Most of these “house lots” are unfit for housing and this is supported by information that was readily available to the previous administration and the last minister of housing.
The political overrode the professional and today the nation is left to pick up the pieces and absorb the losses.
The complaints we receive daily are real and unfortunately we cannot solve all these problems with the financial resources available to the agency. 1.5 billion dollars of this years budget is tentatively set aside to paying rollover contracts. That’s approximately 20% of available funds.
The board is still collecting the pieces and parsing information. Quite to the displeasure of some persons, we are not, and will not be rushing ahead spending public funds on projects that are not properly conceptualized or where documentation and justification is poor.
In time the full details of the so-called housing boom of the previous administration will be revealed to the public.
The one person one house lot scheme is a failure. There is no country in the world that has a housing program to give each citizen a plot of land and take out a mortgage. It makes no economic sense, it is not sustainable and it’s poor usage of land and available resources.
Guyanese should know that the previous administration had a policy of issuing house lot to persons who lived in Guyana six months! There was no requirement of citizenship. This is just one of the many absurdities of the great house lot selling away program. Citizens of India, Brasil, China, Canada, USA and others are the proud owners of subsidised house lots.
Yesterday, I had a most productive meeting with management and staff of the Land Administration department.
I can report that CH&PA is undergoing major changes that will benefit the public. For some, these changes are difficult to accept but it is a necessary transformation that’s long overdue. The agency will be opened during lunch to the public and no one will be turned away for not meeting the dress code requirements of our colonial masters.
The staff of the Land Administration department and CH&PA are about to embark on the most rewarding, productive and exciting periood of their careers. Not everyone who began this journey will see it through to the end, but I believe the Central Authority and the nation will be a better place at the end of this short journey.