There are fresh allegations of corruption within the Ministry of Housing.
According to Minister for Social Development and Housing, Delma Thomas, some people have been found to be receiving building material under false pretence and she warned that they would soon be dealt with.
In 2008 when the National Democratic Congress-led government of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was in office, the then Housing Minister, Alleyne Walker disclosed that there was serious corruption within the housing sector.
Minister Thomas informed the nation during last week Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives that her ministry recently completed collecting data for the housing repair programme and some fraudulent activities were discovered.
“In our investigation, what we saw (is) that there were names down on paper of persons who received material but after investigating we realised that these individuals didn’t receive those materials”, she said.
She claimed that the material were received by other persons who used the names of individuals and vulnerable persons to collect the items.
“… Mr. Speaker … we will be dealing with that in the next upcoming month,” she told Parliament.
Minister Thomas also announced that her ministry is ready to begin giving assistance to the most vulnerable people in need of house repairs but made it clear that only the most vulnerable will initially benefit from the programme as presently government has a huge debt to service hardware providers from material given out in the lead up to the February 19 General Election.
The female government minister also addressed the issue of the low-income houses constructed by the People’s Republic of China free of cost to Grenada.
Minister Thomas said the Chinese have agreed to give back to the people of Grenada some 1000 houses on offer that were scaled down by the former Congress government.
“They have also given us commitment that the additional 1000 houses which was given up by the former administration (National Democratic Congress) would be given back to us,” she added.
The Thomas-led administration had approached China on using some of the funds allocated for the houses on other projects like the rebuilding of the athletics stadium at Queen’s Park in order to give a boost to the island’s ailing economy.
Minister Thomas said that a team from China is expected to arrive on the island soon to tour several sites including the sister isle of Carriacou to commence the second phase of the Chinese housing project.
The Minister also told Parliament that Beijing has given the assurance that it will finance the completion of works on the 353 housing units that it had constructed in Frequente (20) and Mt Gay (180) in St George’s and Soubise (153) in St Andrew’s.
The Grenada government sought further assistance from the Chinese after failing to honour its own obligation to come up with certain counterpart financing for the last phase of the project, which included the cost of sewage, water and electrical installation.
Minister Thomas said that she was assured by an official in the local Chinese embassy that the designs are completed and a contract should soon be awarded to a Chinese company on island for the completion of those houses including the installation of electricity, water and proper sewage facilities.
The construction of the 353 houses is phase one of the Chinese Housing Programme offered to Grenada as part of a package from Mainland China for dumping the Republic of China on Taiwan following the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
Under Phase two of the programme, five sites have been identified for construction of another 490 units.
These sites are Douglaston St. John, Mt Rose St. Patrick, Dumfries in Carriacou, Morne Delice St. David and Diamond in St. Mark.