Lovell labels gov’t’s latest housing initiative a ‘desperate trick’

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The area around Seaforth Beach, which includes the country’s largest wetland, is facing development (File photo)
The area around Seaforth Beach, which includes the country’s largest wetland, is facing development (File photo)
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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A “desperate trick” is how the United Progressive Party (UPP) is describing the government’s latest housing initiative for low-income residents.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said over the weekend that the homes will cost about EC$120,000 each – well within the capability of prospective homeowners, he said – adding that these homes may not be painted or tiled but they will be livable.

UPP Leader Harold Lovell told Observer that the move signals a desperate leader who is about to be voted out of office.

“First, he came with 500 homes in 500 days and it did not work. Then he came with other tricks and gimmicks and now he is promising half-finished homes, leaving people with the major expenses over their heads. He is not helping people. He is desperately trying to hold onto office,” Lovell claimed.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom homes said to be between 750 and 800 square feet, will likely cost from $110,000 to $120,000, and are slated to give individuals who earn $3,000 or less a month the opportunity to become home owners.

Browne said the project would be aided by the recent purchase of a concrete block-making plant, which is expected to start operating within the next two weeks.

“We would be able to provide these blocks at cost. We are also partnering with Blue Ocean to harvest some sand offshore on a sustainable basis without any environmental damage. The whole idea is that we can get the sand for free because it’s a national resource,” Browne explained.

In addition, Browne said the government will source the stones from the state-owned quarries, with additional support from two cement trucks that are also state-owned.

“We can do it. They are basic two-bedroom properties. Yes, they may not be plastered on the inside, or tiled…there will be some work to be done in order to complete them, but I can assure you they will be climate resilient concrete properties with concrete roofs,” he added.

The homes are said to be designed in such a way that the importation of construction items will be minimised.

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