RDC all about assistance

RDC’s Randolph Outram and Wendy Burke.
RDC’s Randolph Outram and Wendy Burke.

Between January and September this year, the Rural Development Commission spent $4 million to provide housing solutions for Barbadians.

Director of the RDC, Randolph Outram, made this disclosure at a time when a number of Barbadians were claiming that the Government agency had scaled down its operations because of a lack of funds.

During an interview with Barbados TODAY at his Bridge Street, City, office, Outram said the agency was still providing funding for housing solutions and rural development projects.

“Our island-wide programme is ongoing,” he stated. “We continue to construct houses, repair houses, assist persons building houses, either with material or manpower, painting houses, provide bathroom facilities, dig septic tanks and dig wells and install water connections. We have been getting some funds. In fact, the minister of finance has been very generous to us, although the circumstances are not what we would like them to be.

“We did a lot of repairs to homes damaged by [Tropical Storm] Tomas. We repaired more than six houses in Blades Hill, St. John, that were damaged by Tomas. However, in addition we have continued our street lighting programme. That is part of our mandate, to provide street lighting and maintain the streets of the island.

“We have done road building recently on a limited scale. We are looking at some road projects now and we are hoping that the minister of finance will smile on us and assist us with the funding for the projects. But in addition to constructing roads and houses, we also have a loans programme,” Outram said.

The director also pointed out that the RDC administered the Rural Enterprise Fund, the Livestock Development Fund and the Fruit Orchard Fund to assist the development of rural entrepreneurship.

“What we do basically is to offer assistance to budding entrepreneurs in the rural districts of Barbados to develop businesses and cottage industries. If you want to grow fruits you can draw on the Fruit Orchard Fund. If you want to be engaged in animal husbandry you draw on the Livestock Development Fund. The Rural Enterprise Fund is more all embracing and provide funding for retailing, jewellery and the manufacture of clothes.

“For this year we have disbursed 37 loans valued at $288,856. These loans are not disbursed willy-nilly because we tie them to job creation and we have created over 50 jobs by providing these loans. We carry out due diligence before the loans are disbursed,” Outram explained. (NC)

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