The Guyana government on Wednesday warned land-grabbers that they could be prosecuted, and instead they should apply to the Central Housing and Planning Authority for house lots.
“Squatting is an illegal act that would not be condoned by the Government of Guyana. The Central Housing and Planning Authority declared that lands squatted on after January 1st 1998 would not be regularized.
That is to say, persons attempting to occupy those lands would not have the opportunity to legally own the lands. In addition, they may be liable for prosecution under the relevant Act,” the Ministry of Communities said in a statement.
Already, the Housing and Planning Authority has stepped up efforts to discourage land grabbers and begin posting warning signs. “Behind Diamond Housing Scheme, where there is empty land, has been the most sought area for land grabbers. CH&PA has since placed a sign board on the open space notifying the public that trespassers will be prosecuted.”
The ministry assured Guyanese that “everyone will have fair and equitable access to lands” after filing an application with the CH&PA.
Authorities said they have observed that persons in large groups have been demarcating vacant lands from Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara to Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice for the purpose of squatting under the pretext President David Granger instructed same.
According to reports, persons began demarcating plots on May 15, 2015, one day before President David Granger would have been sworn in as President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. And, over the weekend of May 16 and 17, 2015 the systematic land grabbing activities intensified.
Land grabbers have also targeted Government reserves, leased lands and plots earmarked for playgrounds and schools. The targeted areas include Sophia, Mon Repos, Enmore, Haslington, Nabaclis, Hope Experiment, and Bush Lot. Officers of CH&PA will be closely monitoring these areas to ensure persons do not unlawfully occupy the lands.
A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change Government (APNU+AFC) has urged persons not to be misled into committing unlawful acts. @Guyanese will be given fair and equitable access to land under Government’s land distribution policy. As such, CH&PA is requesting persons to desist from squatting and have patience as Government implements its policy,” the ministry added.