Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey has decried a growing trend of landlords who were taking advantage of tenants by charging excessive rents while providing below-standard conditions.
Humphrey spoke of a new, “creeping” phenomenon in which a seeming “underground cartel” of landlords was forcing housing conditions below “acceptable Barbadian standards” on residents for “unreasonable rents”.
“People taking houses that should really accommodate one person and trying to put in ten and 15 and asking people to share one kitchen or one bathroom. It is not right,” said the minister during debate on a Resolution for the vesting of land in Cluffs, St Lucy, this morning in Parliament.
“I spent most of my time in social policy and on many occasions we have had to visit persons who are renting rooms, because rooms have now become part of the Barbadian conversation when it wasn’t before,” Humphrey added.
The minister said it created a situation where children were exposed to “adult things” which they should not be seeing.
He also revealed that while he was aware there were still houses in Barbados which used pit toilets, a pit toilet eradication programme would be rolled out “very soon”.
He lent support for the creation of a national housing policy, which is reportedly being drafted by Housing Minister George Payne.
“We need in Barbados a housing policy that makes sense,” said Humphrey.
“I believe that any policy and any government solution must attend to three areas: how problems are managed, how needs are met and if there are opportunities for advancement. That is the test really of a good policy and it must be a holistic policy.
“I know the new Minister of Housing is working on creating a new policy which makes sense for this country. We cannot as a new Government take on the old housing policy, if indeed there was such a policy. We have to think forward and think about the kind of Barbados we wish to build that would suit the needs of the new Barbados that we envision,” Humphrey said.
“Housing may be in most people’s minds about laying bricks and mortar, but it has deeper social implications and as a Government we must be cognizant of these social implications whenever we attempt to implement a housing solution or consider revising our housing policy.”