Owner after 20 years

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart entering the meeting at St. George Secondary School.

Government is preparing to go to Parliament with legislation permitting all tenants of National Housing Corporation units to own them once they have been renting for at least 20 years.

When it came to power in January 2008, the ruling Democratic Labour Party introduced the policy on what was then thought to be a limited basis, but Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has now revealed the measure will be extended.

He made the announcement last evening at a joint meeting of DLP’s St. George North, South and St. Michael North East branches, held at St. George Secondary School.

“We have not put the bar on the 20 years, when you get to the 20 years the housing unit is yours,” the minister said. “Very shortly, in a couple weeks time, the legislation is going to Parliament to give legal effect to this so that the conveyances can be done and this new proud black owning property class in the country because of the Democratic Labour Party can stand up and be proud.”

Sinckler said Government had been confronted with a housing crisis where people were running all around the country and could not “find a pillow to rest their heads on”.

This, he said, was “because of the policies of the Barbados Labour Party” when it was in office between 1994 and 2008. He noted that in contrast, the DLP “has given to the people of Barbados a new property owning class”.

“Under the Barbados Labour Party, with all of the money that they had, they actually created a class of people in this country that only knows the distinction of renting a room from somebody, in less than standard, acceptable conditions,” the St. Michael North West MP stated.

“Rather than empowering a class of small black people, of poor black people, as the Democratic Labour Party has sought to do, they disenfranchised people in this country to the extent where you have people tonight renting rooms for three and four hundred dollars a week.

“This, if nothing else, the Barbados Labour Party is to be prosecuted on and not be even allowed to walk past Bay Street, far else go into Government Headquarters,” he said Sinckler said he believed that was an example of a Government working for people “at the top” while “those at the bottom did not matter”.

He also urged those in attendance to remember that “in the worst economic recession in the world” the current administration had built many houses across the island, with more to come.

“Do you understand the fundamental shift, the philosophical underpinnings of this? I submit that this is the party of the people and we will stand by the people in this country,” he said.

“You can contrast a Democratic Labour Party that has done that with a Barbados Labour Party that for 14 years, with all of the money that it had at its disposal, could not do anything to empower people to own their own house or even to provide a small unit for them to lay their head at night.” (SC)

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