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AG Nandlall clarifies misrepresentations regarding acquisition of Peter’s Hall properties

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Says consultations were conducted on several occasions with residents

Compensation to be provided based on properties’ market value

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, has refuted claims of unfair property acquisitions in Peter’s Hall, providing detailed information about the extensive consultation process and the compensation measures in place.

This comes after the government signed a $52 billion (US$260 million) contract in May 2022 with China Railway and Construction Corporation Limited to build a new four-lane bridge across the Demerara River, requiring the relocation of approximately 20 properties.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC

Minister Nandlall explained that the government conducted a series of consultations with the property owners, all of whom agreed to the acquisition in the interest of national development.

Public consultations were held in October 2022, January to October 2023, and in March and April 2024.

The government’s delegation included the Attorney General, Minister of Housing, Collin Croal; Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill and the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Sherwyn Greaves among other officials.

“From October 2022, we have had several public engagements…And why I am going through this? It’s because I continue to hear allegations that the government is acquiring these properties but is not consulting. That is simply an untruth,” Minister Nandlall.

The Attorney General noted that the property owners were offered various compensation options, including land, land and house, monetary compensation, and compensation for moving expenses.

The government’s Valuation Department provided Certificates of Valuation and a private valuation officer was retained to ensure the compensation reflected the market value of the properties.

“We wanted to ensure that the persons receive market value for their property because that is what the law says they are entitled to. So, we didn’t impose arbitrarily market value,” he further stated.

Minister Nandlall also addressed accusations from one resident, Vashti Fredericks, who he claimed is being uncooperative and spreading racial rhetoric.

“It is not the objective of the government to fight people. The government has a power in law and the government is exercising that power. Right now, those properties are owned by the government by an order published under the Compulsory Acquisition for Public Purposes Act.

“…all of those persons living there and who are refusing to move because the government is not offering them the package that they want; they are now living there illegally. It may appear unfair, but that is what the law says,” the attorney generalfurther pointed out.

Once completed, the modern bridge will significantly reduce traffic congestion for thousands of commuters and businesses using the current floating bridge daily.

The critical infrastructure will enhance connectivity to the East Bank Demerara, the Diamond to Ogle highway, and the West Bank Demerara (WBD), where the new Schoonard to Crane highway is being constructed.

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