|Minister of Housing Lands, Rural and Urban Development, Michael Lashley (left), points out a feature of the Country Park Towers units to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. At right is Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
Government has sounded the warning that rent defaulters will not be tolerated, as it moves full steam ahead to meet the huge demand to house every last person.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart pointed out that those Barbadians who occupy the spanking new high- rise units at Country Park Towers, Country Road, St. Michael, and housing units at Stuart’s Lodge, Tweedside Road, St. Michael, must fulfill their obligations.
He made these observations following an extensive tour of the projects last Tuesday, along with Minister of Housing Lands, Rural and Urban Development, Michael Lashley, other Parliamentarians, National Housing Corporation General Manager Lanette Napoleon-Young and other officials.
Mr. Stuart stressed: "I have made this point before but I think I need to make it again that you cannot demand, or expect of a government, a quality of housing such as we have seen at Stuart’s Lodge and at Country Park Towers and at the same time, expect to be paying $30 or $40 per week for rent.?? I should like that idea, if it exists, expunged from the minds of those who still harbour it.
"This is a very high quality of housing and if the NHC is going to solve other people’s problems by the construction of additional units, the persons who are going to occupy them will have to be prepared to pay the rents that are charged.?? It is pointless applying to get these units …insisting that you get them and when you get in insisting that you are not paying any rent, the government is not going to tolerate that. So, we are going to arrive at rental figures that are reasonable, that we think are affordable and we expect the citizens to keep their end of the bargain," he stressed.??????
Emphasising that the demand for housing continued to outstrip supply, the Prime Minister maintained that government would not "rest on its laurels" and he disclosed plans for the construction of high-rise projects in the St. Michael districts of Valery, Brittons Hill and the Grotto on Beckles Road.
Mr. Stuart also praised the contractor for an excellent product.?? "The units that I have visited showed a very high quality of workmanship.?? At Stuart’s Lodge, the units were the result of a joint venture between the NHC and a private contractor.?? I am sure that the persons who will be occupying these units will feel that any investment they have to make in them at the level of paying rents will be worth it, having regard to the quality of accommodation they will be occupying.
"Similarly at Country Park Towers, the work done on these units by the NHC is of a very high standard and we tend sometimes to categorise workers in the public sector and to give the impression that all they are known for is sloppy work and sloppy habits.?? These units belie that stereotype and the beneficiaries of these units will feel quite proud that they have been able to access a quality of housing not easily matched in any other low- income housing estate in Barbados…," he surmised.