Summary of visit to Essequibo Coast

CONFIDENTIAL MEMO

To: Board Members

Via: Deborah Edwards, Secretary, CH&PA Board

From: Mark Jacobs, Chair Land Allocation Committee

Date: 4th July, 2016.

Subject : Summary of visit to Essequibo Coast

 

Dear Ms. Edwards:

 

This is a summary of my visit to CH&PA’s Essequibo office on June 21, 2016. We also visited Lima Sands and Onderneeming where we spoke to residents of both communities.

 

Accompanying me on this trip were:

 

  • Ingrid Jones, Senior Land Allocation Officer
  • Alvin Harry, Driver

 

On arrival at the Essequibo office we were met by:

 

  • Omesh Sasenarayan, Regional Housing Officer
  • Safiea Razack, Assistant Regional Housing Officer
  • Gaitre Ramawad, Land Allocation Officer

 

Gaitre Ramawad is assigned to the Land Administration division in Georgetown. At no time during our discussions was i notified that she would be going to Essequibo and i remain puzzled as to why she travelled up the day before. No rational explanation has been proffered.

Based on what I saw when I arrived I assumed that another staff had been added to the office.

 

In future visits by the Land Allocation Committee and Board members, I would recommend that such actions not be repeated as it signals skullduggery and improper practices.

 

The RHO has been on the job three months and his assistant three years.

 

Someone from the office is supposed to visit Georgetown once a week but this does not always happen.

 

I asked about the number of available lots in Onderneeming Phase 3 but could not get a proper answer. (“Ms. Jones did the last count” – Gaitre Ramawad) No additional information was available regarding this.

 

Recommendation: an immediate audit be done in Essequibo to determine the number of house lots that are available.

 

Someone said Lima Sands had ‘lots of vacant lots’, but no number was provided. During discussions it was revealed that there are 100 lots available in Lima Sands but this seem more like a guess as no documentation was provided to show how this number was arrived at.

 

Prices for the lots were said to be: $58,000, $60,000 and $92,000.

 

This is significant as later in our visit Gaitre Ramawad when asked by members of the public about the price of a house lot said she did not know. Various members of the public complained about being asked to pay varying prices for CH&PA houselots and someone as high as $700,000.

 

No one could say how the prices were determined for the lot but Ms. Ramawad said Ms. Tudor has that information.

 

This highlights another problem we are having as Board members. To date, no one has presented any documentation on how house lot prices are determined at CH&PA during the life of this Board.

 

Repossessions of house lots ‘were never done other than for specific purpose’ – Gaitre Ramawad. ‘Other than cases where persons have more than two lots.’

 

Ground exercises have not been done in Essequibo to determine exactly what’s on the ground and the status of lots. Most of the information is of a hearsay nature without solid facts.

 

The LMS in Essequibo has been down for over a month. Upgrade to the LMS started last year by the IT department.

‘Avishkar was supposed to come today and replace the system’ – Gaitre Ramawad

No explanation given as to why he did not show up on that date to fix the problem.

 

Recommendation : all IT matters in the Essequibo office be treated as emergency and fixed immediately.

 

No one knows how many files from this region is in the LMS.

No one knows how long the LMS has been in place in the Essequibo office.

 

If someone came to the office and made arrangements to pay and does so, only a physical copy of receipt is kept. A search of the database cannot reveal any of this information apparently.

A cash book statement goes to the internal auditor, but no one can explain how this information flows.

Mrs. Jones said that the computer room can print what’s in the system as entered by the Finance Department.

 

Recommendation : The LMS be changed/updated to allow tracking of payment information.

 

Complaints by staff

  • The office pays for internet service but it is currently not working properly.
  • The land lines are also not working in the office.
  • The office has rotting boards and other defects.
  • There is a lack of space and the distance to the finance department is too far.
  • Compound has lots of slush and heavy duty equipment is stored in the yard.
  • Regional officers are cursing in the yard. This was raised with the Regional Vice Chairman but no action was taken.
  • Mosquito in the office is also a problem.
  • There is no fan.
  • Monthly budget is only $20,000 and the office has no vehicle.
  • RHO says ‘we have to kiss ass to get transportation’

 

 

Humble regards,

Mark Jacobs

Chair, Land Allocation Committee

 

CC
Valerie Patterson, Minister within the Ministry of Communities.

 

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