Parliamentary representative for St Michael South Central, Richard Sealy, has denied that all of the big contracts to construct affordable housing units for the Government are awarded to the big contractors.
Sealy issued this denial today in the House of Assembly while speaking on the compulsory acquisition of a portion of land at Whitepark, St Michael, for the construction of housing units.
The St Michael South Central MP said: “First of all, it is not true. The project at Lancaster, St James, as well as Marchfield, St Philip, and Parish Land, Christ Church, are examples of where small contractors were awarded contracts to build houses for Government.
“The Government had borrowed $40 million for the expressed purpose of giving work to small contractors. The point is, if you accept that we are in a crisis position as it relates to housing in Barbados it cannot only be small contractors who are asked to do the work. Small contractors so as the big ones have to be involved in the work. I think it is fitting that we spread the joy with everyone getting some of the action.
“Clearly the construction of high rise apartments would call for the acquisition of a crane, therefore you would need large contractors to do that work. Then when you come to the Parish Land and Lancaster, projects you use the small contractors. I do not think we should allow ourselves to get carried away with the idea that Government has done something wrong. You need everyone on board.
“In fact, the creative way in which we go about these projects, the private/ public partnership seems to be the way for the future. You have wealthy developers who can raise the capital for high end projects in a flash. Even today in this recession you have developers on the West Coast who can give you all sorts of options. So the developers are there, but the question is how do we get them interested in providing affordable housing where the real crisis is,” Sealy added.
Sealy, who is the Minister of Tourism and International Transport, stressed that there is nothing wrong in using the large contractors for high rise apartments while using the emerging contractors for housing developments like those at Lancaster and Parish Land.
He disclosed that the same contractor who built the units at Stuart’s Lodge, Carrington Village, St Michael, has entered into a joint venture with the National Housing Corporation to construct housing units at Durant’s Village, St James.