Minister of Housing, Dr Orando Brewster has appealed to the new home owners at Orange Hill to cherish the houses which government has provided.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony on Tuesday September 26, the minister said “There were a lot of resources placed into these lovely houses; and I want you to make sure that you cherish these houses”.
“They are gifts…gifts are not to be sold,” Brewster commented.
In his address at the well attended ceremony, the housing minister stated that from 2001 to now, the government has spent over $800 million in housing in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
As a matter of fact, according to Brewster, that total could be closer to $1 billion by now.
“This is significant, it shows the amount of interest and effort that this government places on poverty, suitable housing, sustainable housing and housing that will meet the needs of the people.”
The 21 houses handed over on Tuesday are for some of the persons who were displaced by the April 2021 volcanic eruptions.
“Orange Hill is going to be transformed,” Brewster assured.
The houses handed over on Tuesday are the second set of new houses to be constructed at Orange Hill for families displaced from North Windward.
This set of houses was constructed with financing from the Mustique Charitable Trust.
Speaking at Tuesday’s ceremony, chairman of the Trust Roger Pritchard said the houses were constructed under the Trust’s Disaster Relief Project.
Pritchard said this effort was a direct response to the volcanic eruptions of April 2021.
While the Trust had been providing assistance over the years, Pritchard noted that “the events of April 2021 gave a new opportunity for the Mustique Charitable Trust to help even more.”
The Chairman also disclosed that they were able to raise over EC$10 million for relief efforts in the aftermath of the eruptions.
Part of this money was put into the construction of the houses at Orange Hill, and an additional 20 houses now under construction in Sandy Bay.
Pritchard sees this assistance as a “fantastic opportunity to give people a new start.”
“We are committed to making the lives of disadvantaged people better,” Pritchard promised.
Area Representative Montgomery Daniel also addressed the ceremony on Tuesday.
Daniel, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister said that North Windward is continuing on its development path.
“You are seeing a development that has never been in this constituency over the years,” Daniel stated.
The North Windward MP, who is also the Minister of Transport and Works said that since the eruptions, government has already repaired over 1200 houses and there are an additional 600 yet to be repaired.
As a consequence of the eruptions, 68 houses in North Windward needed to rebuilt.
The first 27 of those were handed over to families last year, on Tuesday a further 21 houses were handed over, also at Orange Hill.
Daniel promised that the people of Sandy Bay will get an Independence gift next month, when a further 20 houses will be made available to displaced persons.