(GUYANA CHRONICLE) – WHEN Natusha DeFreitas was 9 years old, she witnessed her father’s last breath after he was fatally stabbed by a businessman at the Charity waterfront on the Essequibo Coast. That was in September 2006.
Several years later, when she was 13 years old, in November 2011 to be precise, her mother, Stacy Benn, died tragically in a vehicular accident, aback Buck Hall on the Essequibo River. Benn and a male passenger perished when their pick-up overturned while descending a hill.
At the time of their parent’s demise, DeFreitas and her four brothers were living in an incomplete house their parents were trying to build, at the Charity Extension Housing Scheme, on the Essequibo Coast. Subsequently, with no adult supervision, the children were taken in by other relatives.
Five years later, in 2017, DeFreitas started a battle of her own when she approached the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) office at Anna Regina to have the lot transferred from her mother’s name, to her name. At the time, DeFreitas managed to train and qualify herself as a nurse. The house was allotted to Benn before her demise by the housing authorities.
“After I got a job I was trying to get it in my name but they kept pushing me around,” she said of the housing authorities at Anna Regina. She said that she kept visiting the office with an aunt with whom she grew with until adulthood. “And suddenly this guy come out of nowhere and got it,” she said.
The person she was making reference to is said to be a ‘Pastor Francis’.
Reports are that, in February this year, persons started to remove pieces of the structure where Smith’s family home stood. Then, as the weeks tapered out, workmen were observed on the site and were packing truckloads of sand to build a foundation at the site.
This was observed by several residents who immediately grew worried, and angry at the same time, as they are familiar with the siblings’ misfortunes.
One resident posted a photograph of the site recently on Facebook and this reportedly angered Francis. The man allegedly threatened the resident and he allegedly noted in his threats that he is well connected. ”He told persons he got money and he isn’t afraid of the police,” a resident said.
Housing Official calls pastor a ‘bully’
According to residents in the area, after they observed the workmen at the site, they visited the housing office at Anna Regina with DeFreitas but were given a cold shoulder by persons there.
“Every time I go to him he kept telling me to photocopy the papers for the land and my mom’s and dad’s death certificates. And the last time I went to him he took a statement from me and tell me to keep in contact with him,” she said of an official at the CH&PA office at Anna Regina.
On Saturday, residents decided to make the matter public on social media platform Facebook.
It was noted that, after a resident posted a photograph of the works ongoing on the property, a housing official from Anna Regina contacted the resident and promised to have the matter settled.
Persons noted that the official is on record as saying that he gave the ‘Pastor’ permission to temporarily build a church on the property. This angered residents who noted that some maleficence may be afoot since DeFreitas has been visiting the housing office frequently for the past three years to transfer the lot into her name from her mother’s. ”They know very well what they did, somebody sold the lot to this pastor,” a resident familiar with the matter noted.
The Guyana Chronicle obtained a mobile number for the housing official and when contacted on Tuesday, he said that the pastor has been ‘bullying’ the rightful owners for the property. Asked if any measures were being taken to address the matter, the man said that the housing officers were going to place signs at the lot, ordering the workmen to desist from entering the property.
During the conversation, the man asked repeatedly for the matter not to be published in the newspaper.
Reports are that, on Tuesday afternoon, housing officials indeed placed sign posts at the property, but, later in the afternoon, the signs were thrown at the back of the property by unknown persons.
DeFreitas noted that she is desperately seeking the intervention of the higher authorities to address her plight. “That house lot is the last thing that is left of my parents’ memory and I am not giving up on it; that is where most of my childhood memories are,” the defiant young lady noted.