The Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development has contributed in no small measure to the development of Barbados since 1966, says Minister Denis Kellman.

He was addressing a tree planting ceremony today that marked the launch of his Ministry???s own activities in celebration of Barbados??? 50th anniversary of Independence, at its Country Road Headquarters.

Pointing out that his Ministry???s mandate was to provide housing solutions to the people of this country, Mr. Kellman said: ???We are tasked to ensure that we do whatever is socially, economically, financially and legally possible in order to ensure that our people are housed in the best and most affordable accommodations possible. Indeed, it is a dream of most, if not all, of our citizens to own a piece of the rock.???

The gathering of officers from departments across the Ministry heard that the fight for decent housing had been very hard and continued today even as we celebrate 50 years of Independence.

Explaining, Mr. Kellman said: ???Around that time, a large majority of houses were made of wood and land was very difficult to acquire. Sanitation was rather poor and [at an] unacceptable level even though conditions were far better in 1966 than they were in many years preceding our attainment of Independence. The Government found it possible not only to build houses but to make it possible or at least easier to acquire land upon which to build.???

He praised the enactment of various pieces of legislation and pointed out that the most notable were the Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act and the Tenantries Free Hold Option To Purchase Act. ???These two Acts, along with others, made it easier for ordinary citizens to own land upon which they could build their houses,??? Mr. Kellman stated.

He commended the work of departments such as the National Housing Corporation, the Rural Development Commission, the Lands and Surveys Department, the Land Registry Department and others, who worked alongside the Ministry to help it to continue to focus on its vision and mission.

While declaring that if there was one challenge it would be that attention had not been paid, over the years, to the maintenance of Government properties, Mr. Kellman however assured those gathered that his Ministry would continue to build relationships with the private sector to solve this problem.

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