NHC tenants ‘must pay up’
Pay the thousands of dollars owed the National Housing Corporation (NHC) so it can provide housing for Barbadians in desperate need.
Member of Parliament for St Lucy, Peter Phillips, appealed to tenants with longstanding arrears on Tuesday during debate in the House of Assembly on a resolution to approve the vesting of land at Cluffs, St Lucy in the NHC for the “Sites and Service Project”.
The 8 265.1 sq.m.of land is part of a larger parcel acquired by Government in 1991 for hosuing development.
Phillips criticised those who refused to pay, in some cases continuing to occupy NHC units even as they collected rent for houses they had since built for themselves.
He said some people who owed rent revealed they had been told not to pay up, but warned: “It is wrong . . . because if you owe the National Housing Corporation, you are preventing that organisation from expanding and carrying out the work and expanding and providing more solutions for persons across this country.”
The Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Works advised Government to carry out a survey and end the practice.
Phillips empathised with squatters, whom he asserted might have been forced into that position after frustrated efforts to secure “a piece of the rock” through the correct channels. He suggested the action was symptomatic of the dire need for land and housing, indicated by about 30 000 applications in the NHC.
Phillips rapped the Democratic Labour Party Government for failing to take advantage of a BDS$60 million loan made available by the Inter-american Development Bank for housing upgrades in certain named areas six years ago.
He urged Government to revisit plans for the Pickering project initiated by the late Prime Minister David Thompson, in which it was proposed to build over 1100 houses, a private school, and bus terminal and install a wide range of facilities to develop the northern parish.