UDC Boss: We’re not here to out fires
Director of the Urban Development Commission Derek Alleyne is suggesting that his agency and the Rural Development Commission (RDC) should look at the social and cultural development of the persons they serve, instead of being seen as agencies which “out fires” and “patch houses”.
Arguing that a new direction has to be taken by the agency he heads, Alleyne noted that after spending more than $203 million between 1997 and 2012, the UDC was still grappling with the same challenges it faced in 1997 when it was established.
“There has not been a holistic approach to what needs to be done in urban Barbados. We have been looking at the UDC, the RDC and the National Housing Corporation as if they were established to out fires. There needs to be more co-ordination to eliminate any wastage. We see the UDC and the RDC strictly in terms of roads and houses. Similarly, we see the NHC as an agency which deals with houses, however it must be recognized that the agencies deal with people,” Alleyne said today while delivering the Democratic Labour Party’s lunchtime lecture at the DLP headquarters on George Street, St Michael.
He complained that Barbadians felt the UDC and the RDC were established to patch and construct houses, adding that the two agencies need to look past “patching” and needed be interested in the social and cultural development of the people they served through a co-ordinated approached.
“One agency should be concentrating on the community development aspects of the situation and another agency should be addressing the social development aspect. Physical structures should be accommodating people who are thinking progressively. If you concentrate exclusively on providing housing solutions for people, then you miss the important thing – trying to change people’s thinking,” Alleyne said.
“We have to provide the occupants of UDC and RDC houses with a way to live and not some place to live.”
Alleyne told the audience that coming out of the recession the UDC would do things differently, providing either material or labour for home repairs.
“Do not expect the services of a carpenter and $15 or $20,000 in material from the agency. There is a sense of entitlement in Barbados that we need to address,” Alleyne said.