One Government Minister is accusing the last Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration of carrying out a “very wicked” and “malicious” ploy to unseat him, and failing to live up to its promise of providing Barbadians with affordable housing solutions.
Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland levelled the accusation on Tuesday as he joined debate on a resolution for the acquisition of land in Harrismith, St Philip to carry out housing and tourism development.
Stating that he was now presented with requests on a weekly basis for housing solutions in his St George South constituency, Sutherland held up a piece of paper in the Lower House, saying over 100 residents had signed up during the general elections years of 2013 and 2018 hopeful of being provided with affordable housing.
However, he said those residents were now “disgruntled”, pointing out that promises for houses to be built in Brighton, Buttals and Todds, and playing fields in the communities of Todds and Workmans were not fulfilled.
“At the end of the day what they got? They got nothing by the last administration. It was an election gimmick, just to defeat me in 2013 and then to unseat me in 2018. It was an unsuccessful ploy, a malicious one, a very wicked one by the last administration. So I have the whole list of constituents from St George South who signed,” said a fired up Sutherland.
“If the Democratic Labour Party won a government in 2013 on providing housing solutions, they lost it in 2018 for failing to provide housing solutions for the average men in this country,” the MP insisted.
Stating that the current Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration would be “correcting” and “unraveling those wrongs”, Sutherland said he was sure the Minister of Housing would “address the house spots at Todds” and make sure that the people of the constituency have their “fair share” of affordable housing.
“We are not just acquiring land willy-nilly,” he said.
The land being acquired by Government in St Philip was the property of Marriott Barbados Limited and is approximately 10.9 hectares, made up of two parcels.
Referring to some of the members of the last DLP administration as “myopic” and “inwardly focused”, Sutherland further accused that administration of acquiring “fertile” agricultural land at Brighton, St George, to build houses.
Saying that land acquisitions should take account whether the land is prime agricultural land, Sutherland added:
“We can build affordable housing on one hand and we can support agriculture to reduce our food import bill on the other hand. But that is not what the last administration did,” he said.
“The land that the last administration acquired affected our food import bill significantly because they acquired fertile land, agricultural land and put into housing, when we have other land that we could have put into housing.”
Stating that the Brighton Plantation was one of the most productive on the island, the lawmaker said he had asked his colleague, Housing Minister Geoge Payne, to enter into discussions with the plantation owner because the land acquired under the last administration is not fit for housing.
“The plantation owner has said to us he would allocate other lands for housing. I have had that discussion with the member for St Andrew (Payne),” said Sutherland.