Residents of Cane View/Mocha, whose homes were demolished by the government, have instructed their lawyers to commence legal proceedings, following the government’s alleged lack of interest in mediation.

Lawyers for the affected residents had requested mediation from the government, giving the administration until February 15 to respond. However, the deadline has passed without any response from the government. Consequently, the residents have instructed their legal team to take action.

“We have strengthened capacity for aggressive representation and have started deploying our litigation and conflict resolution strategies,” said Dr. Vivian Williams, a New York-based attorney at law who, along with Attorney Lyndon Amsterdam, wrote to the government on February 8, 2023.

Following the unresponsiveness of the government, residents who lost their homes and personal property expressed disappointment in the government’s unwillingness to engage in the matter. The number of residents who have retained the lawyers has grown to nine (9) after Attorney-at-Law Dexter Todd joined the legal team over the weekend.

In a joint interview last week, Williams and Amsterdam stressed the value of conflict resolution to society and expressed the hope that the government would engage in sensemaking. The lawyers noted that the residents have very strong claims against the government, but they wanted to give the government an opportunity to find common ground with the aggrieved residents before heading to court.

The lawyers have stated that they intend to use all available legal means to seek justice for their clients. While the case is still in its early stages, the legal team is preparing to file a lawsuit against the government, seeking compensation for the damages suffered by the residents.

The demolition of homes in Cane View/Mocha has been a contentious issue in Guyana, with several organizations, including the opposition party, calling for an investigation into the matter. The government has stated that the demolitions were necessary as the buildings were in the path of a multibillion-dollar road. The residents have, however, claimed that the lands are ancestral, demanding millions of dollars in compensation. Those who took the government’s offer were given lands and houses in nearby communities.

The legal battle ahead is expected to be a long and arduous one, with the residents’ legal team arguing that the demolitions were unlawful and in violation of the residents’ constitutional rights. As the case unfolds, the eyes of the Guyanese people will be on the proceedings, with many hoping for a fair and just outcome for the residents of Cane View/Mocha.


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