THE Ministry of Housing and Water is currently executing a series of infrastructural works totalling $14 billion, according to subject minister, Collin Croal.
In a brief interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Sunday, the minister explained that the works were mainly being executed as a means of enhancing about 18 to 22 new and existing housing schemes across the country. He said that the scope of works included the construction, and in some cases, the rehabilitation of roads, bridges and drainage infrastructure, as well as the installation of facilities to accommodate utility services such as water and electricity. “It is an ongoing process,” the minister noted
He said, too, that the ministry has been placing particular emphasis on ensuring that all new and upcoming housing schemes are accessible and outfitted with the requisite amenities for new land owners to commence construction of their homes.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had complained that, even though the previous A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) administration did distribute some house lots, those could not be accessed due to poor preparatory works that caused many of the schemes to become inaccessible.
When the PPP/C government assumed office in August 2020, it pledged to open up a number of new housing developments to ensure that more Guyanese are able to own their own homes. The areas currently being developed include Little Diamond/Great Diamond, Prospect and Providence, on the East Bank Demerara, as well as a massive “opening up” of the Cummings Lodge housing scheme on the outskirts of Georgetown, as well as the expansion of several East Coast Demerara communities, namely Mon Repos, Vigilance, Bladen Hall and Strathspey, along with Experiment in Region Five and No. 79 Village, Ordinance Fortland and Hampshire/Williamsburg in Region Six.
The ongoing developments within the housing sector are components of what has been described as one of the largest investments in the housing sector in just one year, with thousands of house lots already being distributed. Access to adequate housing has long been viewed as a basic human right, and is considered an integral factor for the enjoyment of other economic, social and cultural rights. And, with Guyana’s economy poised to quadruple in the coming years, the government has started establishing the conditions for Guyanese, especially from the low and middle-income brackets, to have access to adequate housing. As a matter of fact, some 50,000 house lots are expected to be distributed over the next five years, averaging 10,000 house lots per year. In addition to developing the housing schemes, Croal also emphasised the government’s efforts to ensure adequate interconnecting road networks. He made specific reference to the ongoing construction of the Eccles to Mandela four-lane road, which is slated for a November 2o21 completion. “That is ongoing, we also have a bridge that is being constructed for the Mocha access road from Herstelling [East Bank Demerara],” minister Croal noted.
He said that once the new roadways are opened up, Guyanese will benefit from a number of alternative routes that connect communities and regions.
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, had also emphasised the need for modernised roadways, particularly along the East Bank Demerara thoroughfare and “super highway” leading to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). The Head of State even went as far as to propose the erection of technologically-outfitted police towers as an innovative means of monitoring and maintaining law and order along the roadways, “We will have tower-to-tower connection, so if someone is speeding at tower one, that person would be caught on camera and can be stopped by police at tower two. We need to look at smarter, safer and more modern ways going forward,” the President previously insisted. Dr. Ali, himself a former Housing Minister, had underscored the need for road networks to be created as a means of alleviating traffic congestion that currently plague most of the main carriageways. The construction of a new, state-of-the-art Demerara River Crossing will also add to those efforts, owing to a free flow of traffic that would derive from a bigger bridge, and several of the new interconnecting roads to which it would be linked.