Barbadians want too many “canned” or ready done houses.
Member for Parliament for St Lucy and Minister of Housing Denis Kellman, made this assertion last Sunday during a branch meeting at his constituency office in Pie Corner, St. Lucy.
Instead, he suggested it was more cost-effective for persons to buy land and then build at their own place.
“Why do we want to saddle poor people with expensive small houses when we can give them the land at the right price and let them build to suit their pace and save them from the debt that they will incur when they go and buy what I call a canned house – a house that has been completed already,” he told those in attendance.
However, he said that not everyone heeded this advice.
“They don’t listen and in a couple months when they go and get the mortgage and things start getting tight they start to complain. A lot of people ran me down for those apartments up in Valery [Britton’s Hill, St. Michael], and a lot of them fighting hard now to get out because when you said to them that the money you are paying for that apartment . . . it is better for you to buy a piece of land and even if you build a one-bedroom house and then build on later, they didn’t want to hear you. Now, that they are experiencing [problems], and recognize that every month they have to find $900, they finally [realize] what you were trying to tell them,” he stated.
The MP said he had come under a lot of criticism for not building as many houses as former Minister of Housing, Michael Lashley.
“What they won’t tell you is that the previous Minister had the money. If he had the money and I don’t have the money, how can I build houses?” he stated.
But financial constraints did not mean he was just sitting around doing nothing, he pointed out. He noted that his thrust would be to take prime land and generate enough cash flow from it “to pay off some debt”.
Kellman proffered that Government should not be “bothered” about selling houses, but instead should place its focus on selling land. He reasoned that it took longer to sell houses than land lots. He further added that his problem as Minister of Housing was not a housing problem but a “Rural” one.
The Housing Minister explained that if he received the necessary resources from the Rural Development Commission, then that would ease “my problem at National Housing”.
“There are a lot of land lots in rural Barbados. All I have to do is put in the roads and those people can easily give or sell house spots to their children so that a lot of the pressure on [the] NHC can be eased,” Kellman emphasized.