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first_imgResidents of Savannah Park, New Amsterdam, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) who have been squatting on the Council’s land for more than two decades and were recently told that they will have to pay $700,000 for a plot of land, on Wednesday blocked the access road to their dwellings, preventing Council officials from accessing the area.On Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Compton Grant had promised that he will head a delegation to the community to meet with the residents at 10:00h to discuss the concerns the residents have. However, at 07:30h, Mayor Winifred Yearwood, the Deputy Mayor Grant, Councillors and Council workers arrived at the entrance to the squatting area but could not access the community. The residents had placed large obstacles at the entrance preventing access.After a confrontation between the two sides, the Police were called and initially tried to remove the barricades but as they learnt of the issue, they acted asResidents of Savannah Park, New Amsterdam, blocking the entrance to their community on Wednesdaybystanders and remained there to ensure that peace prevailed. The residents said they were waiting until the appointed time before addressing the delegation. However, Grant asked for a delegation of four to go to the Council’s Chambers for the meeting. After the four persons were identified, the municipal officials left. At 10:00h the residents decided that since the Deputy Mayor was not there as promised, they were going to the Chambers to meet with him.“It is all of us, not just four. They want to separate us. I want to represent myself,” one resident said, as they boarded vehicles on their way to the Mayor’s office where they were told that the house lots in the area, which are covered with thorny vegetation, has been values at $2 million each.Town Clerk Sharron Alexander, told the residents that the house lots were valued between $1.5 million and $2 million each. However, when asked who was the evaluator, the residents received no answer.There are 24 homes with more than 150 residents. The size of each house lot is 48 feet by 75 feet. The residents claim the price the Council is asking is too high. They are using Angoy’s Avenue as the base for their argument. Recently, land occupiers were being asked to pay $79,000 and $98,000 at Angoy’s Avenue. While the prices were determined by the size of land, none were sold for as much as $200,000. Addressing the issue, the Mayor said the land in Angoy’s Avenue belongs to the Government which is in the process of regularising the community. “The Government cannot come and give it to you at that price simply because it belongs to the Council and the Council is an autonomous body.”She said there is need for the two sides to have dialogue.The residents were also represented by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Regional Party Chairman Zamal Hussain. During the meeting, she denied allegations that some Councillors have purchased land for $100,000. Some of the land is situated in close proximity to where the squatters are. Deputy Mayor Grant explained that the cost was so because the land will be developed and have water and electricity. Grant said in time to come, there will be roads erected there. Meanwhile, Councillor Kirk Fraser explained that the Council is a caring one and puts its people first. He noted that the Council has given a section of the land to the Housing Minister to construct Duplex houses. Fraser noted that Councillors do not want to have to appear before SOCU for under selling property below the market value.The residents left the meeting dissatisfied as the Council maintained that they had to pay the $785,000, initially starting with the $25,000 processing fee. The residents say they are willing to pay $100,000 for the plots of busy which they occupy when they got there. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more

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