Despite Opposition claims to the contrary, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman has insisted that some of the 122 houses built at the Parish Land Development in St Philip several years ago have been allocated and are occupied by tenants.
In fact, rubbishing claims by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, he told Barbados TODAY that the Town & Country Planning Department had approved certificates of compliance for about 89 units at the site, while others were either finalized or in the process of doing so.
“There are some tenants in the houses at Parish Land, St Philip. Mottley is not up-to-date with the issue, because I was able to proffer a solution to prospective tenants – the right to buy the houses. This programme gives tenants the opportunity to have access to the houses quicker,” Kellman said.
It was during a “rubbing shoulders” exercise in St Philip North on Saturday, in support of the Barbados Labour Party’s candidate for the constituency Dr Sonia Browne, that Mottley charged that Barbadians had not yet benefitted from the housing project and that it appeared to have been just about handing out contracts.
“It was not about the supplying of housing solutions. If it was about supplying houses, in here would be full of little children and cars. This project was designed to supply contracts before the last election, and empty it stands today. But because the next general election is coming up, the front houses are getting painted up,” she said while standing in the community.
“You cannot have houses shut up for five, six years and expect that you can find these houses functional. You look at the trimming of some of the houses and you would see the wood rotting. Go and look and see the mould on the board. Go and look at the other signs of decay . . . . We all know what happens to pipes when you do not run water. What happens to the tiles when you have the house closed up? We all know the consequences,” Mottley added.
The Opposition leader was supported by Browne who said she was not only concerned about the fact that the houses were unoccupied, but that “they are small and do not suit the low-income people who are known to have more than two children”.
However, Kellman dismissed the comments, saying that it was the “silly season” and anything could be expected.
“It is quite obvious that there is progress, but it seems to me that Mottley is now better than the person in the Bible who could have created the world in one day, but took six days and rested on the seventh. It seems Mottley wants everything to be done in one day. I do not know what she is portraying herself to be, but I am very sorry because I would not try to fly in the face of the Almighty,” Kellman told Barbados TODAY.
He contended that now that people had moved into the housing projects at Lancaster 1 and 2 in St James; Constant, St George and, more recently, the Grotto in Upper Beckles Road, St Michael, the Opposition had to turn its criticism on other projects.
Meantime, the BLP’s candidate in St Philip North claimed during Sunday’s walkabout that constituents were very unsatisfied with Michael Lashley as their parliamentary representative.
“Some of them have lost their jobs. They are generally angry because a lot of promises were made and not kept,” Dr Browne said.