— 334 Land Titles, Transports to be distributed
THE Ministry of Housing and Water is expecting approximately 1,000 persons to be beneficiaries of the ‘Dream Realised’ house lot allocation exercise which is scheduled to take place today and tomorrow at the National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
Speaking to the Guyana Chronicle at the National Stadium, on Sunday, while assisting with preparatory works for the initiative, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, explained that the beneficiaries will have their dreams realised as a number of low-income lots will be distributed for the area Block XVIII Grove/Diamond, EBD.
In addition, Croal told this publication that some 334 Land Titles and Transports will be available to be uplifted by persons who reside on the East Bank of Demerara. These persons have already been notified. Those persons will have to make the necessary payments and complete the process for the documents to be issued.
Beneficiaries of the land allocation exercise are persons who the Ministry of Housing and Water and the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) would have already made contact with and indicated that their plot is available, once they complete the processes and provide the necessary payment for the plot.
However, not only will the exercise benefit persons who will be allocated a house lot, but the services provided by the CH&PA, such as applying for a house lot, will also be available at the exercise.
“When the Ministry of Housing has a land activity, a house lot activity, there are thousands of persons who would normally turn up, but the exercise is not a one-stop-shop per se whereby you come with money and you could pay off for your land; it is targeting persons we have in our system that we have contacted,” Croal said.
“I know there are persons who use the opportunity if they have queries or concerns. We will facilitate that but do not turn up expecting to be processed for an allocation if you have not been contacted or called,” he added.
When persons arrive at the National Stadium there is a pre-screening process at the main gate. Croal explained that while the persons who were contacted would have been informed that they are required to provide the letters, persons who did not obtain theirs would be able to do so at the gate.
Persons would then make their way to a waiting area before heading into the main tent where a gamut of services offered by the ministry would be available, separate and apart from the distribution of the lots. This is all in an effort to ensure social distancing and the COVID-19 guidelines are complied with.
Cognisant of the large turn-out at these land allocation activities, the ministry has ensured requisite mechanisms are in place in adherence with the COVID-19 Guidelines. There will also be a vaccination site at the event for anyone who is desirous of stopping by to be administered their ‘COVID-19 jab’.
Croal explained that while the backlog of persons who would have applied for a house lot but is yet to receive one goes back for “decades”, the ‘Dream Realised’ activity is geared towards clearing the backlog of applications in the system.
He disclosed that the ministry is working “assiduously” to clear the backlog; he also disclosed that the ‘Dream Realised’ initiative has played a major role in helping to clear the backlog.
“The last activity we had for an allocation exercise was in Linden, at Amelia’s Ward. We went back into the system so we were able to pull persons primarily prior to 2015 and this is something we try to do based on the availability, how far back or up to what tier we can cut off,” he said.
Noteworthy, the minister explained that the ministry is not able to contact some of the persons who constitute the backlog as many of those persons who have migrated, or even changed their contact information.
However, he asserted “we do not remove you from our system if you have not been contacted, even if you are not able to capture this batch you will not lose the opportunity you will still remain in our database as a pending application.”
In addition, the ministry has experienced cases where persons are logged in the system for many years; however, it is not because a lot was not made available to them, but rather because they choose not to accept the particular lot that was offered to them.
“At the end of the day this is an offer, we are making an offer that this is an area we are allocating and we are making an offer for you for the type of land and this is the cost and sometimes you have persons who do not take up the offer, they prefer to wait until something else is available,” Croal said.
He notified that there are going to be many more allocation exercises. He explained that since assuming government, the ministry has distributed over 5,200 lots and the process is an ongoing one which is based on the availability of land, coupled with the resources being in place to complete the necessary infrastructure work.
“As the lands become available as part of our planning, we will have these activities within the region or in close proximity to where those lands are for example there will be in the upcoming months an allocation exercise on the East Coast and later in the year in Region Three,” Croal said.
A number of representatives from various financial institutions and insurance companies will be at the National Stadium to provide persons with necessary information pertaining to mortgages and home insurances.
“This is important as part of our collaboration and information sharing, so potential allottees will have an opportunity to reach out to various booths for the banks and get the information pertaining to interest rates and the information they will need when their time comes for construction,” Croal said.
“Persons would be able to engage representatives from the various banks and ask the necessary questions for information they would think they would need to know, as well as the insurance companies cause once you are taking a mortgage then as a compulsory you must have the insurance coverage” he added.