Five years after construction started on a $12 million joint housing project between CLICO Holdings and the state-owned National Housing Corporation at Constant in St. George, the units, some of which have been vandalised, remain in an abandoned state and overrun by thick bush.
When then Chairman of CLICO Leroy Parris addressed the ground-breaking ceremony in December 2008, he announced that the venture, which was being financed by his company, would result in the building of 64 homes.
A visit to the site this afternoon by a team from Barbados TODAY, revealed what appeared to completed homes — more than 20 of concrete and eight wooden — showing evidence of flaking paint, broken windows and weather beaten structures.
The single-storey two-bedroom dwellings also seemed not to have had any kind of maintenance work done on them in a very long time — or at all. The team from this newspaper also observed signs of foundations having been dug and partially covered by grass, while in other instances, only the columns and steel of built foundations, project just above ground level.
Three years ago when he was Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley, disclosed that while the project was to be completed by February 2009, the NHC had encountered a few snags, particularly in relation to the construction of a sewage treatment plant.
Two years later, the then CLICO chairman assured Barbadians that the project was still on stream. The venture was not without controversy otherwise. The former Chairman of the NHC, Marilyn Rice-Bowen, had claimed that there was no contract between CLICO and the corporation.
But speaking in Parliament on a resolution to vest the land at Constant in the NHC, Lashley said a finance contract had been signed by her and agreed to by the general manager, with CLICO Property Development Incorporated.
Twenty of the housing units measure 644 square feet; 22 measure 476 square feet; and another 23 were to be 758 square feet. The targeted income group, Lashley had
announced, would be those who could buy a house for between $100,000 and $150,000.
He said a recommendation was also made that some of the houses be looked at for the Government’s rent-to-own programme. That programme was being undertaken in two phases and involved 20 two-bedroom houses on 644 square feet of land.
Lashley had also stated that the NHC had not made any financial input so far into the venture. When the Barbados
TODAY team visited the St. George location today, the only sign of any work on the project was what seemed to be a relatively small area at the entrance to the site, which was recently cleaned
of grass. emmanueljoseph@ barbadostoday.bb