Scandalous and an example of rampant waste of taxpayers money!
That best describes the National Housing Corporation’s Parish Land, St. Philip housing project in which 122 wood and wall houses built six years ago have remained unoccupied.
And on Saturday (July 15, 2017), Opposition leader Mia Mottley stated that someone should be held accountable for the situation.
Standing in the midst of the housing development built by the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration, Mottley charged that the project appears to have been all about handing out contracts.
“It was not about the supplying of houses. If it was about supplying houses, in here would be full of little children and cars. But this was designed to supply contracts before the last election and empty it stands today. But because the next election is coming up, the front houses getting painted up,” she said.
Speaking to the media after the weekly Rubbing Shoulders on-the-road campaign in St. Philip North , Mottley said if Minister of Housing Denis Kellman spent less time contributing to call-in programmes, and less time in Moontown, St. Lucy, “he would perhaps know why it is impossible for people to move” into the houses as they are.
“You cannot have houses shut up for five, six years and expect that you can find these houses functional. Look at the trimming of some of the houses and you will see the wood rotting.
“Go and look and see the mould on the board. Go and look and see other signs of decay. What we cannot see but we all know is what happens to pipes when you don’t run water; what happens to tiles when you have a house closed up? We all know the consequences,” Mottley said.
“If he was spending less time on the call-in programmes and in Moontown, he would know that somebody needs to be held accountable for this massive wastage of money, and those persons perhaps should be better spending time across the road at Dodds rather than walking around Barbados freely,” the Opposition Leader added.
In 2016, while giving an update on outstanding Government housing projects, Kellman acknowledged that the Starter Home Programme at Parish Land, which is one of Government’s largest low-income housing projects, was behind schedule by about four years due to rising costs and legal challenges encountered along the way. He had told a local newspaper that 80 of the 122 units were due to be allocated.
Meanwhile, BLP candidate for St. Philip North, Dr. Sonia Browne, said she was not only concerned about the fact that the houses are unoccupied, but also stressed that constituents were worried that “they are small and do not suit the low-income people who are known to have more than two children”.
“A constituent of mine just up the road commented that they are so small you can’t even change your mind in them, and I agree with it totally,” Browne said.
Alluding to the issues that affect constituents, including bad roads, poor transportation, single mothers finding it difficult to financially support their children and poorly lit areas, Browne said a better Member of Parliament (MP) is needed to represent the interests of the people.
She said constituents are fed up with the present MP, Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley.
“The constituents are angry with the current representative. Some of them have lost their jobs. They are generally angry because a lot of promises were made and not kept.
“The frustration is not only among Democratic Labour Party supporters, but it is spilling over to the BLP supporters as well. But, I want them to understand that I am here to support them,” Browne said. (BLP NEWS/Sunday Advocate)