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Displaced Sarah Johanna squatters to be relocated to temporary shelters tomorrow

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Following the dismantling of their homes on Friday, some relief is on the horizon for the seven displaced families at Sarah Johanna, on the East Bank of Demerara.  Temporary shelters will be made available to them starting tomorrow.

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, on Saturday met with the squatters who were residing on private lands aback the community, where he pledged the government’s support.

Minister McCoy noted that the dismantling complied with a court order obtained by the landowner.

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy on Saturday evening visited the community where he engaged with the affected families

“The bailiffs, accompanied by police, came yesterday, and seven homes were demolished, which affected about 30 persons, including children. The key thing here is to ensure that the children and the adults are being taken care of. We are working to make sure that they can have temporary shelter arrangements,” he told the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy on Saturday evening visited the community where he engaged with the affected families
Photo: DSC_2982

He added that the government will continue working to secure permanent housing for the squatters.

Bringing greater context to the issue, Minister McCoy recalled that in 2020 the government, recognising that many of these squatters have been residing in the area for decades, met with them, and sought to provide some relief.

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy on Saturday evening visited the community where he engaged with the affected families

A list of residents was compiled and persons were encouraged to apply for house lots at the Ministry of Housing and Water.

“Those who occupied lands were offered lands in 2021, and we have to look at the list and be able to work with the families here to move into their own homes,” Minister McCoy said.

However, he highlighted that the issue is further complicated by new squatters who were not included on the original list compiled during the government’s visit.

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy on Saturday evening visited the community where he engaged with the affected families

“Some people constructed homes, moved from the area, and are renting to others. The situation is as well, people have moved in here subsequent to that compilation of the families that existed at the time we were here. So people were added to the squatting situation, so it complicated the issue,” he explained

“As a government, we are not in any way, shape or form subscribing to the squatting on private property, but the reality is that their situation drove them to do what they did and we have to find a way to help the families get into a place that they can at least minimally call their own,” the minister added.

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