Government will not sacrifice helping Barbadians in favour of ensuring the measures they use to assist them are perfect.
Minister of Commerce and Trade Senator Haynesley Benn said Opposition Barbados Labour Party criticisms of the new National Housing Corporation (Transfer of Units) Bill 2013 were undeserving since the current administration was aiding Barbadians.
“This Government should be commended for its housing programme… Despite some unforeseen challenges we have delivered,” he said today during debate in the Upper House.
His contribution followed criticisms from BLP Senator Santia Bradshaw and Independent Senator Dr. Frances Chandler, who said Barbadians who will now own NHC units after renting them for at least 20 years would inherit several challenges, including organising maintenance and paying insurance.
But Benn said if officials waited for a perfect programme of assistance no Barbadian would ever get help.
“Some of us wait until we find the perfect man or perfect woman to marry, that is why some of us are never married and if we wait for the perfect time for a piece of legislation to be done…, and doctored up and smoothed over and perfected then we will all die and that will never happen. That’s why we are always in a situation where we are amending,” he said.
“If you listen to what’s happening in the United States and Canada, parliamentarians, legislators … are always look at legislation with a view of upgrading and improving them, nothing is cast in stone. As a matter of fact, those that are cast in stone are called the 10 Commandments [and] we try to break them all of the time… We break them everyday, we don’t even seek to amend them.
“So these that we have to comply with, these that we have to put in place, even if they are not perfect now, as the process continues we will continue to improve them, continue to amend them, continue to upgrade those pieces of legislation, but we cannot sit back and wait until everything becomes perfect,” Benn added.
The minister said what the BLP was not telling Barbadians was the various “deficiencies” they left the Democratic Labour Party administration when it came to office in January 208.
“We have had to do some amendments, we have had to do some changes in an effort to bring systems to be are. Senator Bradshaw talks about correcting the deficiencies, we are still correcting deficiencies that we came and found when we came to office in 2008,” he stated.
“I am looking forward to the day when this Democratic Labour Party, after the elections are called shortly, … can continue with our wonderful housing programme. We ought to be commended for this piece of legislation. It is aimed at empowering our people, it is aimed at providing opportunity for our people in Barbados to own their houses.
“This bill is to provide for the transfer by the National Housing Corporation to its tenants of ownership of certain terrace units that satisfy the legal requirements, and those things that are not yet in place I will want to assure you … that the nitty-gritty will be worked out,” the official added. (SC)