FOLLOWING the change of government last weekend, hundreds of residents from several East Coast Demerara villages began making claims to State lands aback their villages.
They have been expressing their outrage that the former regime did not fulfill their applications for house lots, even after years of waiting.
Scores of residents who spoke to this publication have stated that since the APNU+AFC coalition won the May 11 elections, they are rewarding themselves plots of land that are rightly theirs; and they have begun staking claims to acres of available land in the rear of their communities.
The villagers began clearing land that had been overgrown by dense bush, and erecting signs bearing their names as they stood, arm-to-arm with each other on Friday last when the trend began. As word of the happening spread, other residents mobilised and rushed to the backlands, and got very busy claiming land. And as news of the Mon Repos squatting became known, residents of other neighbouring villages adopted the trend.
After the Guyana Police Force had been instructed to cease all squatting activities, residents blocked the Success Railway Embankment in an effort to get their way; but the situation was rectified by law enforcement.
Up to press time, police reported, things were relatively calm, and the land grabbing exercise initiated by villagers had been somewhat abated. The police are, nevertheless, monitoring the situation.
A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has issued a press release expressing their disturbance at recent reports of illegal and unauthorized grabbing of land in some communities.
“The coalition wishes to inform the public that President David Granger has not authorized any of these illegal activities”, the document noted.
“To those participating in these activities, we say please do not be misled by persons who may have encouraged these actions; and rest assured that all Guyanese will be given fair and equitable access to land under the new government’s land distribution policy,” the APNU+AFC release has said.
The Police and other lawful authorities have been instructed to maintain peace and good order in all locations where attempts have been made to stake illegal claims to land, the release added.