Housing minister denies St Michael residents being left out by NHC
St Michael South East MP Santia Bradshaw charged yesterday that her constituents who are anxious to own their National Housing Corporation (NHC) units have been left empty handed by the Government.
But in an immediate response, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman dismissed the allegation.
Bradshaw, the Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly, said during the 2015/2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure debate that the Freundel Stuart administration took up office promising that NHC tenants who lived in their units for than 20 years would get their conveyances, but that has turned out to be just another empty promise for people she represents.
“To this day, despite legislation having been passed on the eve of the last election, despite protestations by the Minister of Housing on various occasions trying to defend legislation which we would have amended that we would have a situation where the conveyances would come to the fore, not one single conveyance has been handed over, certainly not in St Michael South East to date,” she said.
Bradshaw said the minister was duty bound to explain the worrying situation because tenants had been trying to get urgent repairs done to their homes but were being turned away by the NHC.
“You have a situation where elderly people are unable to take the little pension monies that they have to be able to repair their homes in which they live and when they call the National Housing Corporation, they are told simply they have no money. So I am asking the Minister of Housing to speak to these issues, because these are serious concerns to persons who believe they would be intended homeowners, persons who believe that with the conveyance in hand they would also be able to take those documents to make improvements to their homes.”
When he took the floor, Kellman insisted that Government had already delivered.
“During this current term that was done already. You know, they are so hooked on trying to mislead the public that they are even misleading the public on things that have been passed in the House,” he said.
Insisting that the Government was not “about talk but about action,” the Housing Minister said action would also be forthcoming on the near 3,000 housing units and thousands of lots under the Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act.
“We are not taking any piecemeal approach to this. We are taking this project and we are turning it into a capital project where we will ensure that we deliver all those persons that we promised the properties to, but we will ensure that the expenditure and the financing will be covered by ensuring that we make it into a capital project,” he explained.
“It is going to cost as much as $34 million or thereabouts and we are prepared to ensure that we get those funds and deliver to the people of Barbados because we understand the power of housing and owning a piece of land in this country.”