Minister of Housing Michael Lashley would be in full support of a compulsory home insurance scheme in Barbados.
Lashley, who now holds the Transport and Works portfolio, told his colleagues in Parliament Tuesday that there needs to be a concerted effort to educate Barbadians on the importance of insuring their homes, particularly given that tremendous pressure is put on the Ministry of Social Care when people are displaced by fire or, as can happen during the hurricane season, storms damage their homes.
“There might be a time in Barbados that we would have to institute a scheme of compulsory home insurance. I would support it,” said the Member of Parliament for St Philip North.
“If we can provide legal aid for persons who commit capital crimes like murder, why is it that the state can’t be involved in a compulsory form of home insurance to protect the poor and vulnerable in this country? I would support any Cabinet minister who comes with a proposal to ensure that there is some form of compulsory home insurance.”
Lashley made the comments in his contribution to debate on a resolution to acquire the site of the old District ‘E’ Police Station in Station Hill, St Peter and vest it in the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for housing development.
He also addressed the issue of illegal extensions on NHC units.
Citing statistics to demonstrate that officials at the Government agency were aware of those unapproved extensions, Lashley said: “Lammings Housing Area in St Joseph has four illegal extensions; the Ivy Housing Area has 31 illegal extensions; Haynesville in St James has 67 illegal extensions; Bonnett’s in Brittons Hill has 39; Deacons Farm has 132; Eden Lodge has 81; Ferniehurst has 49; Golden Acres in St Peter has 20; Grazettes has 113 and Pinelands has 299.”
However, he pointed out that in some cases, the extensions were made to alleviate cramped conditions that result from a family getting larger. In some other instances, Lashley said, enterprising tenants used extensions to set up small businesses to bring in income.
He therefore urged officials to treat with these cases humanely and sensitively.