There will be almost 90 new households at Paynters this Christmas. According to information from Cabinet, 87 of the 160 homes that are being constructed under the Government’s Housing Project at Paynters will be ready for occupancy by Christmas this year.
This will be the second such distribution of houses, which fall under an Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) 2014 election campaign mantra of building “500 houses in 500 days”.
The first allocation of houses occurred in time for the 2017 Christmas season when the keys to 48 houses were distributed at Dredge Bay. Upon winning the 2014 general elections, which saw the United Progressive Party (UPP) lose office after two successive terms, the Gaston Browne lead ABLP government immediately set about the housing construction programme, which was intended to provide low cost housing primarily to public servants, including teachers, police, nurses, workers of statutory agencies.
The project, which encompasses three areas – Denfields (Cook’s), Dredge Bay (Point,) and Paynters has also been used to provide employment for many people, particularly young men, the government has said on numerous occasions. But, the project has been plagued by several work stoppages caused by inclement weather, shortage of materials as well as industrial action over issues of poor wages, back pay, and unsatisfactory working conditions.
And, 500 days passed without one house being finished and occupied. According to last Thursday’s Cabinet notes, NHC officials appraised the administration on the cost of the houses, the time it has taken to effect the project and the challenges the project faces with wastewater disposal, sewage and infrastructure.
Cabinet was also informed that all 160 houses at Paynters have already been assigned and a number of homeowners have already made deposits. The NHC officials told Cabinet that the project at Denfields, which comprises 150 houses, is close to completion.
According to them, each house will be equipped with its own sceptic tank. The NHC officials have also indicated that Public Works has given an undertaking to pave the roads at both Paynters and Denfields while APUA will provide the expertise and labour to complete utilities with the NHC providing the materials.