In what might be a clear case of resistence, Timehri residents have destroyed ‘no squatting’ signs recently erected by the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
This is according to a public statement released by the Public Works Ministry Tuesday April 28. More than a week ago the government agency highlighted concerns about an alleged renewal of squatting activities in the unregulated East Bank Demerara community, and warned that signs would be erected to discourage squatting on what they say is airport lands.
Despite warning of criminal charges and police intervention, two days after the signs were emplaced they were torn down, authorities reported.
The Ministry of Public Works said it “is an extremely worrying event occasioned by persons who are bent on renewed squatting on areas recently occupied by the Guyana Defence Force for ammunition storage and by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority for antenna arrays for flight communications.”
The agency said that “squatters on airport lands are again warned to, desist from this activity because of its implications for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Expansion project and the maintenance of law and order in the protection of property rights.”
The US$150M CJIA expansion deal which was signed with Chinese construction company CHEC, was made known to Guyanese when media personnel in Jamica where the contract was signed filed a report. The majority opposition parties did not support the controversial venture and while the expansion project is surrounded by other contentions, Timehri residents are adamant that they are not leaving their homes until government commit to genuinely working towards reducing the impact relocating will have on their lives.
During recent interaction with Demerara Waves, residents said that government told them to organise their homes so the community could be regularised but is now pushing them aside to facilitate their multi-million dollar airport.
While government spoke specifically to renewed squatting activities, residents claim that there are many young people who have started families and need homes, but just can’t afford the housing plans government currently has in place.