Families of Tucville’s ‘Big Yard’, Georgetown, have welcomed the government’s move to relocate them to housing schemes after they were temporarily placed in the area years ago following a fire in Tiger Bay, Georgetown.
On Wednesday, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali conducted a walkabout and met with a group of residents. He assured them that all steps will be taken to ensure they are relocated to safer and healthier communities.
The area has 24 households. Last year, the Housing Ministry’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) conducted an assessment of the area and commenced the process of allocating lands to the residents there.
One of the residents said she was happy to be located in a better environment. She expressed gratitude to the government for moving ahead with the relocation process.
Another resident commended President Ali and the team for visiting the compound to have a first-hand look at the living condition.
The resident said, “You are doing a great job, sir. I like what you are doing right now. I wouldn’t stifle my conscience. That’s power.”
He added, “Keep up the good work and come to your people sir. I’m proud of you for coming to your people; I am 46 and I never see a President.”
President Ali explained that residents were placed in the areas temporarily with the hope of relocating to more permanent areas at the time. Unfortunately, the PPP/C Government left office in 2015, and nothing was done during the APNU+AFC coalition’s tenure.
“We are back and we are working on correcting all of them. The whole housing programme went dead and that’s just the truth,” the President stated.
He assured the residents, “I am going to ask Minister [of Housing] Collin Croal to come back here and talk with you because the idea then was to move to a temporary location and then, move to permanent areas.”
Additionally, the Head of State said that a team led by Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Charles Ramson will return to the community to engage them in relation to technical and vocational training programmes.
“We need to get them to do some skill development, either carpentry or masonry. We have a special project we are going to do for housing and we are short on labour and construction workers,” he said.
The youths of the community specifically welcomed that initiative and have already indicated their willingness to get on board so that they could become employable and make meaningful contributions to society.
The President reminded that “there is nothing like urban youth, ghetto youth and country youth, a youth is a youth and we have to create the environment and the youths must take the responsibility of making use of the opportunity to be part of a positive change.”
Before he engaged with residents, President Ali and his team visited the Tucville Community Centre Ground, where he announced major upgrades to the facility.
He said that the government will also install an ICT Hub in the area. Youths could pursue studies through the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) programme.
“We want people to live positive lives. This is what we want in this country. There is enough opportunity for people to live positive and meaningful lives in every community. Whether it’s Tucville or Canje anywhere, we want everybody to be involved and we will create an environment in which everyone lives positive lives,” President Ali said.
Additionally, the Ministry of Public Works Juan Edghill will visit the areas to further assess the drainage issues.
President Ali was accompanied by Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal; Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Charles Ramson; Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar; Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Hugh Todd, and other technical officers.