MINUTES OF STATUTORY MEETING OF THE CENTRAL HOUSING AND PLANNING AUTHORITY HELD ON THURSDAY 22ND DECEMBER, 2016

MINUTES OF STATUTORY MEETING OF THE CENTRAL HOUSING AND PLANNING AUTHORITY HELD ON THURSDAY 22ND DECEMBER, 2016 AT 10:00A.M IN THE AUTORITY BOARDROOM AT 41 BRICKDAM AND UNITED NATIONS PLACE

Members Present

Mr. Green, Hamilton – Chairman

Mr Alli, Ronald – Member

Mr. Duncan, Sherod – “

Mr. Gangadin Ganesh – “

Ms. Heywood, Winifred – “

Mr. Jacobs, Mark – “

Mr. Khan, Darul – “

Mr. Lewis, Brian – “

Ms. Luke, Sonia – “

Mr. Mangar, Naresh – “

Ms. Martins, Heather – “

Members Absent

Mr. Carter, Egbert – Member (Excused)

Ms. Mootoo, Mallika – “

Ms. Murphy, Alaira – “

Public Officers Present

Mr Abrahim, Reaze – Director of Finance (ag)

Ms Azore, Fayola – Chief Development Planner (ag)

Mr Ally, Andre – Head, Information Communication Technology

Mr Charles, Gladwin – Director, Community Development

Ms Edward, Deborah – Secretary, CHPA

Mr. Narine, Omar – Director of Projects (ag)

Ms. Sansculotte, Lavern – Human Resource Manager

Ms Sattan, Khemlatta – Operations Manager –

Ms Stewart, Germene – Head, Monitoring & Evaluation

Ms Tudor, Denise – Director of Operation

Item No.1: Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 10:30 am. Prayer was said by Ms. Winifred Heywood followed by the reciting of the National Pledge.
Item No.2: Opening Remarks

The Chairman wished the members and staff a peaceful and rewarding Christmas and for a better life in 2017.

The Chairman then sought the Board’s indulgence to consider certain items on the agenda as priority since some members had to leave early.
Item No.3: Consideration of Minutes- 24th November 2016

Corrections

Item No.6: should read as $67M instead of $76.6 M.

Item No.14: should read to meet with Mr. Robert Ramcharran and Legal Officer.

Pg 9: should read ‘tablets’

Insert … ‘it was agreed that GTT service would be used on implementation’…

There being no other correction, the motion for the adoption of the minutes of 24th November, 2016 was moved by Ms. Winifred Heywood and seconded by. Mr Darul Khan.

At 10:45 a.m. a motion was passed to suspend the meeting to allow officers of GWI to address the Board in relation to the installation of sewage system as against the installation of septic tanks in the new housing schemes.

The Sanitation Manager, Mr. Joseph stated that GWI was looking at phasing out the use of septic tanks and was pushing towards Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) or improved septic tanks.

After some discussion, it was decided that Mr. K Dazzel and Mr. O Narine would collaborate with the Sanitation Manager of GWI, to conduct site visits and to identify lands that could accommodate WWTP.
Item No.4: Update on Hinterland Housing Project and Home Improvement Subsidy (HIS)

Mr. Charles presented the above on behalf of Ms. Donell Bascom who was on leave.

Home Improvement Subsidy

259 persons were selected
256 vouchers were distributed (3 had no addresses)
115 vouchers were redeemed. Beneficiaries have until 30th January, 2017 to redeem their vouchers.
The Hinterland Housing Project

299 persons were interviewed in six communities in Regions No. 1 and 9. Procurement for the supply of building materials had been completed. However, the construction of houses is yet to commence. The Director of Projects (ag) said that after interviews were conducted, labour contracts would be done.

Sole Sourcing – The Director of Projects said that IDB project design catered for Sole Sourcing labour and materials from the respective Village Councils.

… said that he had suggested that the Board should from the Ministries of Finance and Communities the interpretation of Sole Sourcing as per the IDB Agreement.

… asked for an update on the financial support for Ms Donell Bascom’s for the losses suffered due to fire.

The HR Manager stated that management had agreed that Ms Bascom should be granted five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). The Board agreed.

On the issue of drainage, the Director of Projects said that the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Agriculture indicated that if the schemes were CHPA’s then it was CHPA’S responsibility to do the drainage.

After some discussion, the Chairman said that the Ministry of Communities should be informed of the Board’s concern about Local Authorities taking responsibility for maintenance work in their respective areas. He said that should not be a burden to the agency. The Board concurred. However, Mr Alli pointed out that maintenance would be CHPA’s until the schemes were handed over to the NDCs.

Contracts proposed for termination – It was proposed that a meeting be held on January 10th 2017 at 9:30 to deal with the contracts after which the PCC meeting would commence. The Board agreed.

Mr Charles reported that the Community Department was crafting a Community Development Plan for Perseverance, which would also be used as a model to execute projects in other schemes. He said that the plan would be presented to the management team then to the Board.

PRO – … said that it was agreed that CHPA would have its own PRO. The Chairman said that would be dealt with when the structure was presented.

… asked when the CEO would be appointed. The Chairman responded that the Board should have been advised as to the procedure.

…said that he did advise the Board that the subject Minister would have to give approval. He said that the offer letter was inadequate and as such it allowed the applicant to present a counter offer. The Chairman said that he would follow up on the matter with the subject Minister.

The Chairman asked whether the new application forms were designed to avoid the inclusion of the age 18 years. The Director of Operations said that the forms currently used did not include that persons could apply at age 18. However, the Land Allocation Committee had agreed to have the applicants TIN included on the application forms and that was implemented.

Mr Jacobs said that there were a lot of issues to be discussed and agreed upon before a new application form could be done. He said that all the recommendations were made however no conclusions were arrived at. However, he would have to compile and submit a report to the Board by the end of February 2017.

…said that the proposed criterion would have to be submitted to the Board for consideration before a new form is designed.

The Director of Operations then recommended that an economist be engaged to review the housing solution proposed by government and to assist CHPA on the way forward.

… broached the issue of the construction at Robb and Camp Street. The Corporate Secretary said that contempt proceeding were filed and would have to be heard by the Judge.
Item No.5: The Restart of Construction of New Houses at Perseverance

The Director of Projects sought the Board’s approval for a budget of $2B for the following activities at Perseverance:
Upgrading of Roads at Perseverance, (location of the existing houses – 191
Construction of 168 new houses at Perseverance.
Construction of duplexes (various designs and elevated single storey as model homes
Ned infrastructural development at perseverance – 185 new lots.
Associated administrative cost.
Submitted Appendix A – a breakdown of the cost for the abovementioned works and Appendix B showed the location for the proposed works.

Mr Darul Khan asked to be excused at 12:00.

… said that the budget that was approved did not cater for duplexes. He said that there were 380 areas that were at various stages of completion however, data was need to see where we were with those areas.

The Director of Projects said that the subject Minister was proceeding with the duplexes and it was proposed that these houses be built at Perseverance where there was infrastructure.

The Chairman said that the Board had agreed that all schemes should have a variety of designs and to have them built on stilts. He said that would allow persons to have options. Mr. Alli opined that before the final design, a feasibility study was done.

Mr. Jacobs said that if there would be a decision to build those duplexes then he would abstain from that decision. [this minutes is dangerously flawed. I objected to Omar Narine presenting a budget for 2 billion dollars on one sheet of paper. after much discussion Germene Stewart and Omar Narine agreed that they did not need 2 billion right now. I have the calculations on what they said was needed now but it was less than 50% of what was being proposed. This request and all documents was being presented for approval after the meeting was started. It was not on the agenda and was very flawed. I said I would have no part of any decision. I called for a vote and only two persons voted for this measure. the rest abstained]

Ms Stewart stated that this was a medium strategy: to refocus, to have various housing solutions and have public participation. She said that the subject Minister had also mentioned the construction of town houses. The model houses would be used as a pilot.

The Chairman said that there were discussions with the Ministers and the school of thought was to have housing solutions and have a model village so that we would be able to know the preference of the people.

…suggested that instead of having actual buildings, floor models could be built to see what would be needed. She opined that with the floor model houses the exhibition could take place at CHPA. She reiterated that some attention should be given to other areas that were incomplete.

Ms Stewart said the housing targets were already set by the government. The Director of Projects (ag) interjected that private persons were on board to construct the model houses.
… said that there was need for data to be able to discuss CHPA’s position with Cabinet and the Government. He emphasised that everyone needs to understand what is out there.

The Chairman said that he understood their anxiety but the Board cannot continue to wait for perfection. He said that since taking office not a single house was built. He would like to get the model houses constructed in time for Republic in February 2017. He reiterated that money would not be wasted since the model houses would be sold.

The Chairman said that a public forum the President had intoned that CHPA’s role was and that was to build houses. He emphasized that we should build houses so that the public could be aware that CHPA and housing sector were giving them houses. He said that he had spoken to builders of solar systems at the Demerara Bank and had a proposal for social amenities. As such he was asking for a consensus to allow management to proceed with the project.

Ms Luke asked to be excused at 12:45

… said that he supported the pilot and the upgrade of roads. … said that she supported the project. However, Mr. Jacobs said that he opposed the project. [I opposed it because no one in management could explain the budget they presented. I did not want to be a party to no corruption]

…suggested that there should be a ceiling sale price on the model houses especially when considering low income persons. She said that the cost for a model house could come from the Valuation Office and as such would be able to get a response from the Board.

… opined that members were articulating to have the cost for the model houses. He said that there should be some background information to be able find a consensus and move forward. He said that we have not yet started to deal with the bigger picture, however he would support finding a solution.

The Chairman said that there was enough information to be able to go to tender. He said that CHPA would build houses and the government would decide the level of subsidy. He said that a survey would be conducted to ascertain persons’ preference of the house.

The Chairman said that he would ask the Board to vote on the proposal by the Director of Projects (ag) for six (6) models houses of various types to be constructed for viewing by the public.

… opined that there should be one design with options and not six different models. He suggested that the models be done in the most economical way.

The Chairman then asked those who were in favour of the project presented by the Director of Projects (ag). There were 3 members in favour, 1member against, 1 member was not present at the time of voting, and 5 members abstained. As such the project was carried. The Chairman asked that the townhouse be was approved included in the budget. [this is an incorrect recording of what happened. I asked repeatedly how could two members, not three, in a room of ten members carry a motion? I left after this]

Mr Mark Jacobs asked to be excused at 1:30 p.m. Thereafter the Chairman called a recess at 1:35 pm.

Mr Ronald Alli and Ms Heather Martins were also excused.

Item No.6: Discussion on Remigrant Scheme

The Chairman said that there was concern about the management of the remigrant scheme and as such the Board had taken a decision to put a hold on the scheme. He said that he had spoken to the overseas diaspora and they stated were interested in the scheme. The Chairman then proposed that scheme be reopened.

The Head of IT Unit said that the receivables from the remaining unallocated lots could be about $2B. He also stated that persons were enquiring about their titles.

Mr Gangadin agreed that the scheme should be reopened and it would attract persons with skills in construction sector and that would assist to turn the wheels of development in Guyana.

The Director of Operations said that there needs to be clearly defined criteria as to whether remigrants were just overseas based Guyanese or strictly use the definition from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Director of Operation then suggested that a committee be set up, inclusive of two Board members, to meet with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs/Presidency. The Chairman said that a meeting should be convened in January, 2017.

Mr Gangadin agreed, and said that would allow for the process would be equitable, transparent and fair.

Head of IT said that there were persons who returned to Guyana that did not go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obtain remigrant status. However those persons went through the same application process as a person with remigrant status.

After some discussion, the Chairman proposed the Board accept in principle the following:
That the scheme be reopened after discussion with the Ministries of the Foreign Affairs/ Presidency as to who are qualified as remigrants.
To include students returning from overseas that do not own property.

He said that subject to those caveats the Minister of Communities should be informed of same.

The Chairman proposed that those persons who had paid, that CHPA should proceed with processing their titles and that they should also be informed that infrastructure would be installed at a later date. The Board concurred. The Directors of Operation said that was previously done.

The Head, IT opined that the scheme could be developed in phases. The Chairman suggested that persons already allocated could probably be relocated to the portion that would be consolidated.

The Chairman said that management should come up with the cost per sq ft. for the lots inclusive of cost for infrastructure and to see whether the scheme could accommodate a sewage plant.
Item No. 6: Presentation by Finance Director (ag)

The Finance Director (ag) informed the Board that management had recommended that a one off ex-gratia payment of $20,000 to the staff in lieu of food hampers that were previously given to staff. Further, management had also considered and recommended that the Board members also be granted an ex-gratia payment of $20,000.

The Chairman said that he hoped that such an incentive would motivate staff to produce and to work to move the agency forward.

After some discussion the Board by way of resolution approved the ex gratia payment to staff and Board members.

At this juncture, Chairman said that the Board had approved that Mr Reaze Abrahim be granted a two months probationary period in the position of Director of Finance. As such he proposed that Mr Abrahim be confirmed in the position of Finance Director. However, the HR Manager cautioned that the Board should await a response from the subject Minister.

The Secretary said that in accordance with the Housing Act the subject Minister would have to consider the Board’s recommendation. The Chairman said that he would follow up with the Subject Minister.
Item No.7: Any Other Business

Increase Fees Structure

The CDP (ag) explained that the Board had approved the increased fees structure for planning applications effective 1 January, 2017. As such the CDP (ag) presented for the Board’s ratification a resolution to effect same.

The Chairman said that at this point he was not inclined to increase the fees and proposed that the increased fees structure would be put on hold for three months. The Board concurred.
Construction Camp & Robb Streets

The Chairman reiterated that the CHPA and the City Council should work together to curtail building violations. He said that Mr Carter and the City Engineer had said that the building was safe. The chairman stated that his initial objection was that there was no accommodation for parking.

The Chairman then proposed that the matter be handed over to the City Council and let them give the approval for use of the building and that the court matter be withdrawn.

… said that if that was done then what example CHPA would be setting. She said that the Board had a very strong position on the matter and advised against having the matter withdrawn but to allow it to run its course. She proffered that the matter should take its course in the court. She said that she would not vote on the issue.

The Chairman opined that CHPA should not get into things outside of planning and as such let the City Council pronounce on the integrity of the building. The Chairman said the focus should be on the construction of houses.

The Corporate Secretary reminded the Board of the Chief Justice’s ruling in the Telecor case where the Stated that CHPA was the authority for land use.

After some discussion it was agreed that the matter would be allowed to run its course in the court.
Operation of Snackette by Mr Harold Singh at Lot Area A, Tract X Providence, EBD.

The Secretary explained that the Board was previously informed of the above court matter. However, the court had asked CHPA whether there would be any objection the Mr Singh operating his snackette. She said that the matter was discussed with former CDP as well as the CDP (ag) who visited the site and had no objection to the operation of the snackette with the sale of malt and wine. The Board considered and had no objection to Mr Singh’s operation his snackette with the sale of malt and wine.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 3:25pm.

Moved: Seconded:

Secretary: Chairman:

13th January 2017

Chairman and Board Members
Central Housing and Planning Authority

Dear Sir / Madam

Re: Statutory Meeting of the Central Housing and Planning Authority

Notice is hereby given for Statutory Meeting of the Central Housing and Planning Authority scheduled for Thursday 26th January 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in the Central Housing and Planning Authority Boardroom, Head Office, 41 Brickdam and United Nations Place, Georgetown.

The Agenda is as follows:
Call to Order, Prayer and National Pledge
Opening Remarks – Chairman
Consideration of Minutes – 22nd December 2016
Matters Arising
Ratification of CHPA Budget 2017
Update on the following:
Data Compilation by Heads of Departments
Field Audit Survey – Ms Germene Stewart
National Planning Forum – Ms Fayola Azore
Construction Works at Robb and Camp Streets
Financial Report
Home Improvement Subsidy Distribution and Hinterland Housing Pilot – Ms Donnel Bascom
Arbitration Proceedings – Ms Hannifah Jordan
Correspondence
Any other Business and Closure

Please make every effort to attend.

……………….
Secretary, CHPA

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