Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde has complained that more than a year after Hurricane Elsa and a freak storm damaged about 80 houses in her constituency, many residents were still waiting for repairs to either start or finish.
And on Tuesday in the House of Assembly, she pleaded with the relevant authorities to get on the case.
Forde said she wanted to see constituents benefitting from the same kind of repairs being carried out in other parts of the country.
“And I am not badgering anybody. I am just saying that I want the houses finished. I have photographs of grass growing almost as tall as the houses and I don’t know who the contractors are.
“I want to know how many houses in St Thomas have been repaired because I cannot tell you two. I want to know how many have not yet been visited, and I have the list. Even though I write and request a report, even though I send the WhatsApp messages and the photographs, I still am not getting the responses,” the MP said.
Speaking on a Resolution to approve the vesting of Crown lands at Brighton, St George in the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for housing development, Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance Dwight Sutherland said repairs from the 2021 weather systems were still ongoing in other parts of the country as well.
He reported that of the 1 796 houses reportedly impacted by the freak storm and Hurricane Elsa, which occurred in June and July, 2021, respectively, 1 496 were to be repaired by the NHC, Urban Development Commission (UDC), and Rural Development Commission.
Sutherland said almost 600 structures had so far been completed and work was in progress on close to 500 others.
“We have engaged, as a Government, 420 local contractors to rebuild these houses. The Minister of Small Business [Kerrie Symmonds] continues to advocate for that sector and we have rebuilt and repaired and started and will finish, before year end, some 73 per cent of these houses. But we still have to mobilise another 15 to 20 per cent, roughly around 220 houses out of the 1 496,” the Housing Minister reported.
He added that residents of 213 other houses had also been provided with materials to carry out their own repairs.
Meantime, Forde suggested that Endeavour and Dukes in St Thomas were ideal locations for housing projects, but insisted that no housing units should be built.
Making a fresh appeal for housing solutions for her constituents, Forde told Minister Sutherland that people preferred to buy land spots and build spaces that would enable them to engage in agricultural activities.
“To develop sections of Dukes and Endeavour will have more people in St Thomas being able to own the piece of St Thomas. The Honourable Minister, please listen to me. I don’t want a single housing unit, not one.
“Forty Acres is already there. Please install the road, but make sure that some kind of acquisition is made for persons to be able to purchase some lots so that they too can get their independence,” Forde pleaded. (AH)