Letter: The housing phenomenon keeps getting better

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Overhead view of a housing development location in Guyana

Dear Editor,

I think of the reality that “Globally, 1.6 billion people worldwide struggle with inadequate housing conditions, with about 15 million being forcefully evicted every year,” That is according to the UN-Habitat, which has noted an alarming rise in homelessness in the last 10 years. Young people, it is shown, are the age group with the highest risk of becoming homeless, so what a relief it is to learn that in beloved Guyana, “some 3000 more house lots will be distributed to residents on the East Coast of Demerara by the end of this year.”

The news, then, from Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal is not something that is merely ad hoc. In fact, the announcement came during a recent outreach in which 250 house lots were distributed to residents from Nooten Zuil to Unity, on the East Coast of Demerara.

Explaining the national goal and vision of the Government, the Minister noted, “We have not had any recent outreach in terms of Ministry of Housing on this part of region on the East Coast of Demerara, so the cluster that we are addressing is between Unity and Nooten Zuil.”

And in terms of ‘sticking to promises,’ Croal detailed that “…since taking office in August 2020, (Government) have been able to allocate 7900 house lots to Region 4. (And) Of that, just under 4000 house lots were distributed to people living on the East Coast.” So, “By the end of this year, we want to allocate about another 3000-plus for the East Coast of Demerara.”

In fact, when the PPP/C assumed office in August two years ago, the reminder was, “We promised 50,000 house lots, which we have been ensuring that we make available to the citizens, but we have been adamant that our primary focus is homeownership; ensuring that Guyanese move from being renters to becoming homeowners.”

I think it is a ‘given’ that the Government would achieve its manifesto promise of distributing 50,000 house lots by the end of 2025.

Let me add that the right to adequate housing is a human right, recognised in international human rights law as part of the right to an adequate standard of living. Also, we must understand that “Adequate housing”, as defined under international law, is “the right of every woman, man, youth and child to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.”

This right is so much more than simply four walls and a roof over a head. In this vein, Guyanese are now enjoying a level of security and dignity yet again, as this was missing between 2015-2020. Today, in the country, we see that there is the unfolding of so many rights, as “Human rights are indivisible and interdependent, so the right to adequate housing cannot be separated from the other rights, such as sanitation, water, education, and healthcare.”

I recall that in June of this year, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Sherwyn Greaves, emphasised that the Government’s housing drive is synonymous with the creation of employment. This was a commitment that was also made to Guyanese back in August 2020. He rightfully stated at that time, “This will not only help the landowners; it will, at the same time, provide employment for our citizens across the country,” as the CH&PA will always be inviting individuals, groups, and companies to express their interest in providing various skills and services for the housing initiative.

Plaudits, then, to the leaders of the land. Guyanese today are achieving equity, dignity and security in an unprecedented way.

Yours truly,H Singh