by Samuel Sukhnandan
With a promise to deliver 10,000 house lots annually, newly-appointed Housing and Water Minister Mr. Collin Croal has reaffirmed that this will be a top priority of the new government.
Mr. Croal reminded that the housing sector is an important driver of the local economy, and that it would therefore be important to expand and develop housing.
“The approach that I will bring to this sector is to work to ensure that we keep to our commitments to the people of Guyana,” he told News Talk Radio 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online on Wednesday.
The minister said in creating more house lots, the government will be working with various sectors, especially the private sector, to push development in the economy.
“…and to create a regime where more young people can have the opportunity to build homes and we will work to have safer water delivered right across Guyana,” he added.
Asked who he will rely on to help guide policies related to housing and water, Minister Croal said he will rely on the direction of the president, who himself was a former housing minister that helped to expand housing in Guyana. But importantly also, Mr. Croal said the input from the team of professional public servants working in that ministry will be necessary.
The Minister also gave a commitment to pay attention to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), where in the past they have received negative reviews for the way they handled approvals and plans. “I will work to remove the bureaucracy but ensure that we stay within the confines of the law,” he asserted.
While emphasis will continue to be placed on improving the water sector, Mr. Croal, a former geographic Member of Parliament for Region One (Barima-Waini), said he will work to ensure that focus is placed on reaching unserved areas, particularly in many hinterland communities.
“I do have an advantage and I’m very knowledgeable of the hinterland and the geography of the country. I am pretty much aware of the hardships that confront our people right across the country both in the housing and water sector, so we will work hard to improve that.”
Mr. Croal was the Permanent Secretary at the Local Government and Regional Development Ministry from December 2011 to June 2015. He also served as Permanent Secretary of the Amerindian Affairs Ministry from June 2010 to October 2011 and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Legal Affairs from April 2009 to June 2010.
He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University Malaya, and a degree in Business Management from the University of Guyana.