May 23, 2014
PM tells officials to speed up housing rehabilitation process

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has called for acceleration in the housing rehabilitation process.{{more}}

Since the floods of December 2013, the Ministry of Housing has been rebuilding and repairing houses that

were damaged during the disaster.

While addressing a press conference on Monday, Gonsalves noted that although he is happy about the progress that has been made, he would still like to see more acceleration.

“The progress of the rehabilitation for the housing is going quite well, but I want to see acceleration. I put a significant of amount money in the estimates. I have the money for the housing programme and I asked the Minister this morning for us to accelerate some of the work,” he said.

According to Gonsalves, approximately 80 houses have been built so far, with a few already completed.

“We’re going to have openings at the various sites sometime before the end of this month and into the middle of June,” he said.

“At Fitz-Hughes, originally, we started with seven houses. Six of them are completed. The final one is 85 per cent complete.”

The Prime Minister said this seventh house at Fitz-Hughes is being built for Sweet-I Robertson, a young woman who was left crippled after being caught in the crossfire between feuding young men on October 30, 2009. At the time she was injured, she was a fifth former at the Petit Bordel Secondary School.

Five other houses are being built in Fitz-Hughes, and according to the Prime Minister, as at the middle of last week, they were 25 per cent complete.

“At Cumberland, eight were being built and they were basically finished,” he said.

According to the Prime Minister, one of those eight houses is being occupied by a young woman of Rose Bank and her mother.

The young woman was diagnosed earlier this year with epidermolysis bullosa simplex, a rare genetic skin disease which worsened during the floods of December 2013.

Persons with houses that were affected by Hurricane Tomas in 2010 and the April floods in 2011 will also benefit from this ongoing project.

To date, ongoing construction and the repair of houses affected by any of these disasters are taking place in South Rivers, Cumberland, Chateaubelair, Rose Bank, Spring Village, Byera, Colonarie, Hope, Penniston, Clare Valley, Langley Park, Orange Hill, Owia, Sandy Bay, Overland and in the constituencies of Marriaqua, West St George and East St George.

“In most of the areas, the material distribution in respect of the April floods have been significantly done; not completely. Same thing with the December floods, April floods and Hurricane Tomas. The work there is ongoing and we have done a substantial amount of work there,” Gonsalves said.

“Most of the houses are in concrete, but we have a few mixtures of plywood and concrete and a small number in plywood, given the structure which existed. Sometimes we have an old man who has lived in a shack and we give him something a little better, but not necessarily a wall house.” (BK)