Deplorable Govt housingA motion was passed by the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Regional Democratic Council (RDC) for the temporary cessation of rental deductible payments for teachers and nurses occupying Government quarters in Linden.This decision came on the heels of numerous complaints regarding deplorable living conditions at these facilities. Councillor Charles Sampson, who put forward the motion, said the complaints were “embarrassing” as he pointed out that enough attention is not being paid to the upkeep of the quarters though rent is equivalent to a percentage of occupants’ salaries.Councillor Charles Sampson addressing the RDCThe motion received full support from all Councillors present at the statutory meeting.“What we have found is that even though the Regional Democratic Council does work on buildings owned by the region, including teacher’s quarters… in recent times there has been many complaints… enough attention is not being paid to teacher’s quarters,” Sampson said. He requested for temporary measures to be put in place.Regional Chairman Renis Morian also said he has received numerous complaints on the state of nurses and teachers houses. “Some of them have septic tanks overflowing and a whole lot of issues,” he stated. According to Morian, inspections revealed that the issues were no fault of the RDC, adding that based on budgetary allocation the administration is doing the best it could.He said the Administration has looked at temporary measures to put in place and will seek proper funding for improved work to be conducted. He added that the quarters were slated to be sold for $1 in 2012, based on face value.“Because when they looked at the amount of money we’re spending, a lot of money to repair it’s not enough…Nevertheless these houses weren’t sold, so we’re faced with a situation here where there are complaints from nurses and primarily teachers…” the Regional Chairman said. He also stated that the Council will make a budgetary appeal for necessary upgrade in funding to repair the quarters since it has received insufficient funding for repairs over the years.“So we’re saying ‘stop, no rent for nobody. Send the money to us and let’s bring these houses up to proper living standards for the people. There will be no rent with immediate effect for all the teachers and nurses that occupy houses that fall under the Regional Democratic Council,” he stated.Sampson also pointed out a similar situation affecting employees who occupy RDC homes, noting that many have not been maintained, but Morian said the Council will first move to have houses occupied by persons not employed by the RDC taken back before a decision is made. Until then, he noted the cessation will only apply for teachers and nurses.The cessation for nurses and teachers, he said, will run until all situations relating to housing conditions are corrected.Housing cost for teachersOnly recently, in light of reports that teachers who are seconded to the hinterland have to pay for their own accommodation, Minister of State Joseph Harmon has rubbished such reports, claiming that once a teacher is sent in the hinterland to perform duties, the Government takes care of housing.In a letter published by Guyana Times, it is alleged that the head teacher of Saxacalli Primary School was required to pay 10 per cent of his salary as rent for the teacher’s living quarters that he is temporarily occupying.It was also highlighted that hinterland teachers would use their own computers and printers to complete tasks for the school without getting a stipend from the Government for using same. In some instances, the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) is concerned that the situation could lead to some teachers returning to the coastland.Despite Minister of State Joseph Harmon claiming otherwise, teachers in some parts of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and the Hinterland are still being forced to pay 10 per cent of their salaries for housing.According to information reaching this publication, monies were deducted earlier this year from the salaries of head teachers at several schools in Region Three, particularly at the Upper Bonasika Primary, Sandhill Primary, Santa Mission Primary, Great Trollie Primary, Caria Caria Primary and San Souci Primary.A source close to the teachers indicated that since the year started, monies were deducted from them for housing despite them being told otherwise.