The Leguan Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) has nine constituencies and the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) coalition is contesting eight. Trevor Whyte, a farmer from Amsterdam, Leguan, is the party’s Local Government Elections (LGE) candidate in constituency 7 (Dauntless Bank – Amsterdam).
The ground that Trevor Whyte hopes to rehabilitate
BY UTAMU BELLE Several squatting areas in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice) will soon be regularised, Minister within the Communities Ministry Valerie Sharpe-Patterson has announced. She was at the time addressing the media at a Government outreach in the community held over the weekend. One such area, she outlined, will be Burjag, located at Wisroc, Wismar. The minister said since the area falls under the Wisroc Housing Co-op, discussions are now ongoing to have those lands transferred to Housing so they can be regularised. Sharpe-Patterson related that, already, there were applications sent to the Central Housing and Planning Authority. She said the ministry is working to bring the squatting regularisation not only to Linden, but other parts of the country, since there were many requests by residents to do so. This, she noted will form part of the focus for mid-year. Sharpe-Patterson warned however that this should not be taken in the sense that people should now begin squatting in new areas, especially on Government reserves since those would not be regularised. In meeting with several residents who brought forward a number of irregularities relating to housing, the minister said the issues are not only common to Linden, but country-wide. She noted that there were instances where people complained of the high cost of land, or having to pay additional costs owing to increases over time. Noting that Government had made a promise in its Manifesto to reduce the cost of land, she noted that those who would have completed paying 50 per cent of the cost by May 1 would qualify for a 50 per cent discount on the remaining cost. This, she noted, is in keeping with Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations. She advised that people should stick to paying the initial cost of land agreed to from the inception and not fall prey to paying additional, based on increased costs. “In Linden, initially the cost of the land was $58,000, then increased to $92,000, and some people who are low income earners said when they went in to pay some time after, they were told that they have to pay $300,000… If the cost of the land was $58,000 when you entered into the arrangement or the agreement then if they come two years after to complete paying then it must still be $58,000. They must not now get what is the new price, because the agreement started when it was $58,000,” Sharpe-Patterson reiterated. She also outlined issues relating to persons who finished paying for their lands years ago and have not yet received their titles. The minister added that there were also cases where lands were allocated and were re-surveyed, which resulted in them being re-allocated to someone else. Sharpe-Patterson said this is a burning issue which she is tasked with dealing with. “The problem right now is that we have no house lots available right now in Linden for allocation. The last I found was 36 and I allocated all 36 at the last public day”, she said. The minister added that lands were identified at Amelia’s Ward, however but are designated under Lands and Surveys Commission. These she stated are now being pursued to be transferred to Housing so that the necessary infrastructure can be added. “So persons can look forward, because in that area we have over 2000… so we will be able by the end of the year, to meet the demands of Linden”. Stressing the need for more efficiency in the system, the minister stated that in her opinion applications for titles should not take more than three weeks to be processed. This, amongst other issues she said, should be addressed within the administration’s first term in office.
Whyte told Guyana Times that his main objectives are to acquire ground facilities and create a sports centre which he opined will help to curb drug and alcohol abuse by youths on the island.
“[There are) no ground that the children could come and play, [no] sports facility… if we get the ground in order then they could come in the afternoon and we could try to get lights [so they could] play indoor games when [it rains].”
“When dry weather come, we could play outdoor games and keep them away from drugs, alcohol and cigarettes,” expressed the candidate.
Whyte promises that he will advocate in getting “respectable people” who will visit the community and train the youth in sporting activities such as football, cricket, and volleyball. The candidate also suggested he will also attempt to have basketball court built.
Whyte further posited that apart from budgetary allocations, he will embark on fund-raising activities to ensure projects are completed and sustained. He cautioned that before these proposed developments can be realised, the NDC must purchase a ground cleared from its private owners. He opined that this purchase will see benefits to the “entire island.”
“We [will buy] the ground from the owner and see the ground become a public ground,” stated Whyte. The farmer also stated that apart from sports improvement, he hopes to address the problems of bad roads and drainage and irrigation. He opined that the current NDC needs the requisite equipment in order to ensure these works could be carried out. Whyte opined that the council which was recently managed by an Interim Management Committee (IMC) should change.
“If the council (changes) we can get machinery and so to get the drainage clear.”
“If you pass the council you don’t have to ask a question; they don’t have anything inside… the island need a bulldozer to grade the dams, the council (has) no tractor… we have to implement as soon as we go into power,” suggested the candidate.
He also related that he hopes to correct a koker which has been blocked for around two months. He further noted that the trenches have become dry and the animals have been getting a limited supply of water.
To this end, Whyte stated that his party has an upcoming meeting where the needs of residents will be heard. The candidate explained that residents will also hear of their plans to overhaul the NDC. “We’ll change the whole thing, the whole system, we’ll change up… it had no progress,” opined the candidate.