– private developers urged to build or lose landThe Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has warned that it will soon repossess lands from those private developers and house lot beneficiaries, who have breached their agreements. This comes as the CH&PA moves to pave the way for the development of more low- and middle-income housing solutions for Guyanese.Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CH&PA, Lelon Saul, said the Authority is set to go after those developers who acquired vast tracts of lands under the previous Administration, but have since failed to develop them. “We are currently engaging these developers. We are encouraging them to develop those lands, to live up to the agreement of sale, and I should say that in some cases it is likely that we would move to repossess some of those lands,” Saul said at the CH&PA’s mid-year press conference on Monday.He pointed out that many of these private developers still owe the CH&PA money and this would make it easier for the Authority to repossess the lands. Saul said the CH&PA has commenced the repossession process. “I can tell you that I would have instructed our Corporate Secretary to initiate actions to repossess lands from private developers who have failed to deliver.”The CH&PA has also forwarded many of the developers’ agreements to the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Chambers for legal consideration before engaging other defaulters. This was done after a review of the agreements was conducted by CH&PA’s Corporate Secretary, Hannifah Jordan.Jordan explained that the agreements were reviewed in two batches – one for discrepancies and two towards strengthening the document. “When we review the agreements, there were two batches; the batches that were done in 2010-2011 and the set that was done in 2013 and beyond. There were issues regarding the strengthening of those agreements and that is why the agreement in 2013 and beyond had additional penalties and conditions to cater for us in terms of whether you wanted to repossess or penalise the developer,” Jordan explained.The CH&PA is also going after those persons, who, in an attempt to defraud the system, obtained more than one Government house lot. Based on the CH&PA’s allocation policy, a person is only entitled to own one property or lot from the Government.CH&PA’s Operation Director, Denise King-Tudor explained that once the Authority establishes that someone is the owner of more than one Government house lot, they will move to repossess one of the lots, in accordance with their repossession policy.“Sometimes you find instances, where persons change their names (to obtain a lot) or they use another name or they are already married to someone and our policies say that if you are married or not if your spouse, should own then you are not eligible to the Government’s housing programme,” King-Tudor explained. According to a GINA report, she explained that these instances are either reported to the CH&PA by concerned citizens; in other instances, it is unearthed and there are cases where persons report this information, when the Authority conducts data cleansing. “We will find that persons in Region Five or Six, they acquire a lot in Region Four and so once we would have established that and we would have done our research and assessment of the situation, we would determine which one of the properties that person should have,” King-Tudor explained.In determining which of the lots that the person should be left with, the CH&PA takes into consideration such ramifications as the investment made and where the persons actually works and resides, Tudor-King said. “You would find that if that person would have acquired a house lot in Region Six and Region Four, because maybe there is a shift in where they work, they have constructed on the lot in Region Four and so we would repossess the lot in Region Six,” she was quoted by the Government Information Agency as saying.Concerns over the approximately 25,000 applications on file has led the CH&PA to review some of the mechanisms used to enable home ownership. The Authority is also reviewing the use of those lands that were disbursed to private and other landowners but to date remain undeveloped. In addition to using these lands to meet the huge demand for house lots, the Authority may also seek in the future to utilise them, to expand their pilot project of constructing apartments, condominiums, and wooden houses for Guyanese that are within the low- to middle-income brackets.