The National Housing Corporation (NHC) is not fulfilling its mandate of providing low cost housing solutions for low income earners in the country.
Parliamentary representative for St Michael East Trevor Prescod levelled this charge at the management of the NHC today in the House of Assembly.
Arguing that the NHC was initially set up to provide housing solutions for low income earners, Prescod said in the earlier days the focus was on addressing the needs of the poor in the society.
“What we have seen over the last few years, and I am not going to exempt any government from the charge, [is] a drift away from the original concept that would have guided the housing policy.
“I believe that this is a time now to pause and reflect on what we are doing, because I think that housing should always be related, especially the state housing policies and programmes, to where the demands exists.”
He also complained about the cost of new housing.
“I do not know if it is the exorbitant prices coming from the contractors or what . . .[but] the rents are way out of the reach of very people who are in need of housing. We see it reflected in the Country Road Towers,” he said, noting thAT “In that project the units cost ordinary people who are working for $250 a week and $300 a week, $900 a month in rent”.
“It is extremely difficult for low income people to be able to meet the demands of rent of $900 a month,” Prescod stressed.
The outspoken Opposition MP argued that if you compare what is happening at Country Road Towers with what is happening at London Bourne Towers, where a tenant pays $75 a week for the same size unit or $300 a month, the tenant can almost rent three units for the money he is paying at Country Road Towers.
Prescod also took issue with the attitude of some contractors retained by Government, saying “in Barbados construction of housing estates are very expensive because some people have made it so, because they are greedy [and] their greed has a long chain effect.
“It impacts on the poor,” he said.