Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2023, 16:40 by Denis Chabrol
The People’s National Congress Reform-led opposition coalition on Thursday announced that legal action would be taken against the government for crushing the homes of several persons as part of the construction of a new East Bank Demerara road from Eccles to Great Diamond.
Asked what the opposition expected legal action after the demolition to yield, PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton said declined to do so until the court papers ae filed. “The team continues to work and we decide the direction, I will comment on that. To comment on that now is to preempt and probably put the lawyers approach in a position where they don’t want to be,” he told a news conference. He said the opposition had always placed legal action to the affected persons in Mocha.
Among the persons, he said, that would probably testify in court is an opposition parliamentarian who had reached out to Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal to negotiate a settlement but said government was not prepared to negotiate with the political opposition. Instead, he said government preferred to engage with individuals. not even with accompanying lawyers. Mr Norton refused to name the parliamentarian on the grounds that there was no value doing so.
Opposition parliamentarian, Attorney-at-Law Amanza Walton-Desir noted that the Guyana government used the police force, heavy equipment against Guyanese “who were still engaged in negotiations with them.” The Guyana government had published several notices in the newspapers and provided free houses and house-lots to the persons who were occupying lands on Cane View, Mocha, East Bank Demerara.
When pressed on why legal action was not taken before in the almost one-year long land squabble, the PNCR Leader said his party has been always collecting information to prepare for legal action while believing that the government would have acted reasonably. “I don’t think what was anticipated was that the government would have been so brutal that even with children in buildings etc. that they will bring a Hymac, destroy property etc. He was not entirely optimistic that government would have abided by a court ruling in favour of the land occupants.
Meanwhile, the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly-Guyana (IDPADA-G) on Wednesday announced that legal assistance would be provided to the families whose houses have been demolished. “We will fight together to restore what is theirs and
heighten our vigilance to protect African Guyanese property owners. To this end, IDPADA-G, has brought all of the nine affected families together and has identified a team of lawyers and other experts to provide the assistance needed in this fight for justice,” IDPADA-G said.
The organisation said Mocha Arcadia families have coalesced and as a group would engage in the “upcoming negotiations” with government represented by a team of experts organized by IDPADA-G. That organisation is appealing to Guyanese to donate money to assist with relief assistance to the affected persons. Please click here to donate. or visit IDPADA-G on Facebook to find the Friends of IDPADA-G link
Friends of IDPADA-G will provide full accounting for all donations and acknowledgement of receipt of donations for the purpose of tax deductions. “We call on all Guyanese of good conscience in Guyana and across the diaspora, to support them, as they still
suffer the shock of dislocation and tremendous loss. In spite of years of hard work and saving to build their homes and businesses, these families are now homeless, some have lost their livestock – their source of family income,” IDPADA-G said.
Former government minister Simona Broomes, opposition parliamentary constituency representative Nima Flue-Bess and the Ministry of Education have been assisting the displaced residents.