Lawyers for Cane View/Mocha residents request pre-litigation mediation with government

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2023, 22:43 by Denis Chabrol

Four of the Cane View who initiated legal process with the government
(From L-R) Candacie Williams, Roxanne Allen, Lashonda Ellis, Joyann Ellis

The deadline for government to signal its intention to pursue an out of court resolution with Cane View/Mocha residents will expire in a few days.

The residents, whose homes were demolished, and all their personal belongings destroyed by the government in  January, have retained lawyers.

On February 8, 2023, International Lawyer Dr. Vivian Williams, and Guyana-based Attorney Lyndon Amsterdam served notice on Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, that they have been retained by the aggrieved residents and are instructed to pursue a just resolution of their grievance. They have given the government seven days to initiate
settlement talks. That deadline will expire on February 15, 2023.

“The government erred in the way it handled this matter. The resort to the use of the coercive arms of the state was precipitate and without legal basis”, said Dr. Williams. However, the New York based attorney added that it is useful to give the government an opportunity to resolve the issue just before resorting to litigation.

In their letters, the lawyers stressed that the affected residents have numerous meritorious claims arising from the acts and or omissions of employees and or agents of the Ministry of Housing.

Notices were sent on behalf of Lashonda Ellis, Joyann Ellis, Roxanne Allen, Mark Gordon, and Candacie Williams. Retention of other affected residents is being finalized.

On or about January 5, 2022, the Ministry of Housing, with support from the Guyana Police Force, used heavy duty equipment to demolish the Homes of Cane View residents.

Cane View is a community that sprang up in the later part of the 1990s without objection from the government. The affected residents occupied the plots of lands for decades and expended significant sums to build properties and engage in other economic activities after being
encouraged to do so by the government, their lawyers noted.

The affected residents and their lawyers are hoping that the government will act in good faith and initiate settlement talks without delay. The distressed residents are receiving support from the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly (IDPADA-G).

Government said the occupants of the land at Cane View were squatting on a reserve associated with a new road that was passing through Eccles to New Diamond.  The Irfaan Ali-led administration is on record as saying that government had exhausted all efforts at providing free land and houses to the persons who lived there, and a few opted to remain there.