As inhumane conditions worsens
In a recent visit to Riverview, Ruimveldt by Kaieteur News, reporters were left dumbfounded at the conditions under which the Riverview squatters live.
The entrance buried by the silt mud from the canal
An aerial view of the Riverview squatters
To make matters worse, the main entrance bridge to the community was completely buried in “soppy mud” from a canal recently cleared by an excavator.
The foul smell emanating from the silt mud and piled up garbage that can be seen almost everywhere prompted reporters to question residents about their living conditions.
One man said that he has been a resident of the area for more than 15 years. He claimed that the former government– the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)– had promised to relocate them to a better place but failed to fulfil its promise.
The man further said that the current administration, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) also promised to do likewise. But to date nothing has been done about the Riverview squatters.Supporting the man’s claims is a 2009 Government Information Agency (GINA) article.
A section of the community
The article stated that the then Minister of the Ministry of Housing, Irfaan Ali, promised that, “focus will be placed on the Ruimveldt Squatting area in Riverview”
It was discovered by the then PPP administration that the persons squatting along the dam were preventing the cleaning and de-silting of the drainage canal.
In 2015, the administration changed, and in 2016 the APNU+AFC government embarked on a plan to eradicate squatting in Guyana.
A number of areas were targeted, including Riverview, The Lamaha Canal and the squatters on Broad and Lombard Streets.
In 2018, squatters from Sophia and Broad and Lombard Streets were scheduled to be relocated.
Conditions under which the squatters live
Many were earmarked to be relocated to Cummings Lodge after the Government had collaborated with Food for the Poor to construct some 72 homes at $1.2M each.
But according to Riverview squatters, they are still on the waiting list.
Some residents told Kaieteur News, that they are not depending on the government to be relocated. Many had applied for house lots some years ago.
But it seems as if their applications have not been accepted by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).
They said that they are conscious of the fact that their living conditions are “worst than that of a dog” but because of their current economic status, they cannot afford to rent a house elsewhere.