Two thousand families and approximately 8,000 persons stood to benefit from the upgrading of homes in The City and Allen View, St Thomas, under the Inter-American Development Bank Loan of $60 million.
Parliamentary representative for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds gave this estimate today while speaking on a resolution to compulsorily acquire 3,380.1 square metres of land at Whitepark Road, St Michael, for housing development.
Symmonds said: “That project is too important to be treated to silence. The programme as conceptualized had intended to upgrade four vital things. First of all to extend assistance to the upgrading of housing in Cats’ Castle, Greenfields, Garden Land and Allen View. The Barbados Labour Party also felt that it was necessary to mobilize the private sector in financing low income housing. It was also felt that an attempt should be made to upgrade the environment in urban Barbados and certain parts of rural Barbados. These things are important and should be addressed by a Minister of Housing.
The St James central MP told members of the house of Assembly that because of Government’s inaction $47 million of the $60 million loan was returned to the IADB.
Turning to the Coverley Housing project, Symmonds said that the National Housing Corporation has been experiencing “hard pains and suffering” as a result of the mismanagement of the project.
“Up to February of this year there were 51 conveyances prepared out of 1,000 houses. The NHC has not seen $750,000, but the $15 million made of the conveyances have gone elsewhere. These are the things that we continue to ask: how are these things possible? Where is the advantage for a state corporation which enters an arrangement with a private company? Lancaster Housing Development remains 91 “silent sleeping sentinels”. This is disgraceful management of the Ministry of Housing and not a word from Minister of Housing Denis Kellman. What steps are going to be taken to make Lancaster habitable?” Symmonds asked.
The St James Central MP chided Kellman for not addressing the 85 per cent increase of the cost of sand which will have a ripple affect across
the construction industry.
“The Minister of Housing does not use the occasion of the very day on which the story breaks to say that the Government is taking a look at the position and that the Government has a perspective on the matter. Sometimes you feel as if you would just throw your arms in the air and just give up. I ask where is the compassion. That is a Barbados that is bygone,” Symmonds said.
Noting that the Estimates Of Revenue And Expenditure will be debated during the week beginning March 17, Symmonds warned the Government benches that “the horror of the NHC” will be exposed.
Symmonds warned: “There will be a digging down the likes of which have never been seen before in an Estimates debate.”