Benn praises home rebuilding initiatives

Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, has lauded the Urban Development Commission, the Rural Development Commission and the National Housing Corporation for helping to restore houses damaged during Tropical Storm Tomas.

Benn offered this commendation yesterday in the Senate while speaking on the Amendment of the Catastrophe Fund Act. He noted that prior to the intervention of the UDC, RDC, NHC and others no money was disbursed for the repairs of the houses damaged by Tomas.

“Not a cent was paid out under the fund. And therefore I am happy that the management of UDC, RDC, the civil military units and the NHC were able to go ahead and get things done,” Benn said.

“I am hoping that we will understand why we had to do the amendments so that in the future when those agencies have to come forward and do work, we do not have to be talking about Government seeking to play hanky-panky with the fund,” he added.

Scoffed at documents

Speaking on the Auditor General Report, Benn recalled that the Owen Arthur Administration scoffed at the documents, never anticipating that their audit time would come.

He said one of the things that concerned him was that since the Democratic Labour Party assumed office they have not disregarded reports, but noted it has not done anything to bring those persons or organisations identified by the Auditor General to account.

The St. Peter candidate charged that if the DLP highlighted the reports of 2006 and 2007 under the last government it would make them cringe. The senator suggested that people should go and examine what was done at the Barbados Water Authority under the last administration between 1990s and 2008.

Benn maintained that some individuals identified by the Auditor General should be awaiting release from Dodds, while inviting Barbadians to get a copy of the Special Audit of the National Housing Corporation.

No ‘hanky-panky’

He told members of the BLP that “people in glass houses should not throw stones”, and pointed out that the current administration did not intend to play hanky-panky with public funds.

Meanwhile, he suggested that when the UDC or RDC repaired private homes there should be a clear policy on ownership.

“Under the last administration, if they repaired the house, they owned it. I believe that if RDC builds a house from groundsill up for some elderly person and he dies and a relative expressed an interest in owning the house, then the individual should pay the RDC for part of what they spent on it.

“But I do not believe that if RDC repaired the house, the original owner should be deprived of possession of the house. I want a clear policy on that,” Benn said. (NC)

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