Kellman defends NHC decision
Minister of Housing and Rural Development Denis Kellman has defended the decision of
the National Housing Corporation to sell some lots at the going market price.
Kellman offered this defence today on a local radio talk show, when asked
about the NHC’s decision to sell some Crown lands at $35 per square foot to
The minister said: “The policy of selling some lots held by the NHC at $35 per square foot
was adopted in the 1990s. We have a mandate at the NHC to look after low income earners.
We have to determine if we are going to sell lots like private developers or . . . subsidize the
lots. We cannot continue to sell our lots at subsidized rates and then have people talking
about how much money the NHC was losing. We have to put lots on the market for a fair
“We have to raise enough revenue to run the NHC and at the same time provide lots for
the masses at subsidized rates. The NHC must be able to make a contribution to the National
Treasury, and that is where I will take it. The well off cannot expect to come and have access
to subsidized land. To avoid going to Parliament for supplementaries, the NHC must sell
some lots at the going market price.
“The NHC is a corporation. It is not an arm of the Government like the Child Care
Board. It is overseen by a board of directors. People have to recognize that there are some
agencies that will either break even or make a contribution to the National Treasury. We
have to say if we are only going to sell land to the poor or whether we are to allow the rich
to help the poor,” Kellman added.
Reminded that the Article 4 IMF Consultation had indicated that the NHC had lost its
focus by providing lots at $35 per square foot, Kellman gave Barbadians the assurance that he
did not have to wait on the IMF to make that observation indicating that he had come to that
conclusion while in opposition.
Addressing the issue of public/ private sector partnerships in the construction of houses,
Kellman argued that joint ventures were not always successful.
“The Opposition cannot show one joint venture project that they have made any
contribution to the National Treasury. The Democratic Labour Party is trying to reverse
that trend. Coverley will not record a loss for the Government. On the other hand, the joint
venture at Lancaster, St James, will record a little cost,” Kellman said.
The Minister of Housing gave prospective homeowners the assurance that lots earmarked
for lower income persons were not being sold at higher prices.
Kellman recalled that the DLP manifesto for the February 21 2013 general election, had
given lower income Barbadians the assurance that they wOULD be provided with lots at $15
per square foot. (NC)