In order to address concerns about living conditions within Diamond, Minister within the Ministry of Communities, with responsibility for Housing, Annette Ferguson, recently met with residents of a section of the Diamond community.
The Minister and a team of officials from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), including its Chief Executive Officer Lelon Saul and Technical Assistant to the Minister Remington Nelson, visited the area at the invitation of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), headed by its Executive Chairman Komal Samaroo and some of its directors.
Also present was Government Affairs Advisor Wesley Kirton.
The residents, a majority of whom are squatters, have been complaining about the impact of DDL’s operations on their quality of life and had recently intensified their protests by engaging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Some of the residents had their structures “regularised” some years ago although the area is zoned for industrial activity and not for residential purposes.
“This government wants to ensure that you live in conditions that are designed for you to enjoy proper housing and a good quality of life. President Granger has made it clear that no Guyanese should be living in shanties, slums, and squatter settlement conditions,” Minister Ferguson told the residents.
Arising out of Minister Ferguson’s visit, it was decided that the CH&PA will begin preliminary work in the area. It was said too that this work, which includes a review of the cadastral plan of the area, is expected to be completed in time for a community meeting with the residents at the end of August.
Teams from both CH&PA and DDL will participate in that meeting.
Minister Ferguson is the second minister to visit the residents in less than one week, following attempts by the residents to reach out to both DDL and the government in search of a lasting solution to the dilemma facing the community.
DDL has pledged its commitment to working with the government and the residents to find a permanent solution to their predicament to ensure that they have access to improved living conditions.