Member of Parliament for St Michael South Central Marsha Caddle has advised the Government not to stop building high-rise residential developments, stressing that these solutions meet a range of housing needs.
Contributing to debate in the House of Assembly on a resolution to approve the compulsory acquisition of parcels of land in Kensington New Road and Beckles Land, New Orleans, St Michael, she said it was important to continue on the innovative path that the Ministry of Housing and Lands started to meet the demand for housing.
“We need to meet speed and scale not just with respect to the generations that are coming that need housing, but we need to meet speed and scale with respect to the things that are confronting us now – Hurricane Elsa and other related events,” she said on Tuesday, though stressing that there were other situations not related to natural disasters in which emergency housing would be required.
“….Like when there is a house fire… like when there are cases of intimate partner or other domestic violence, when people are unhoused because they must leave a dangerous situation – there are all kinds of urgent housing circumstances that are not related to disaster,” Caddle added.
The Government backbencher said there was also a need for the administration to make provisions for Barbadians living on tenantry land to purchase the properties in order to make it easier for them to do business, including with financial institutions.
She stressed that the issue of housing was not only about people having somewhere to sleep but also about having an asset that can be used in a productive way, “because ownership matters”.
“I see this, Madam Speaker, as low-hanging fruit for this administration. I do, because I feel as if – and I can only speak on this instance for urban Barbados, for St Michael South Central – we can complete that exercise. Where we know that we have people that can complete that exercise, where we know that we need to simply complete the conveyance of these lands, let us do that.
“Then we are solving the housing issue more easily and more readily without having to look for more major capital outlay through the Member of Parliament for St George South [Dwight Sutherland] who may find that the demand may sometimes outstrip the flow of capital to his Ministry [of Housing and Lands],” the economist said.
Caddle also pointed out that the lack of estate planning was also a challenge, noting that as a result of people not making legal provisions for passing on property, there were many people who believed they owned property when they did not, according to the law.
“One of the issues that is challenging us as a nation is this issue of estate planning, of being able to identify who is the rightful owner of a property, what are the succession issues so that people can really have assets,” she said, suggesting that Barbadians may need to be incentivised to get their affairs in order.
During her contribution to the debate, the Government MP also suggested that derelict structures in communities across the island be removed and the spaces used for other purposes.