There are reports that people who have already occupied units at the housing complex at Mt. Gay, St. George’s that was built by the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) remain uncertain about the cost of the houses.
Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Senator Nazim Burke who addressed the plight of the residents at the Mt. Gay Housing Complex on a Radio Talk Show Programme said instead of giving out the houses to the people, the Government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has decided to sell them.
Sen. Burke who served as Minister of Finance in the Tillman Thomas-led Congress Government between 2008 and 2013 told the host of the programme that the houses were meant for families who are considered to be vulnerable, and for those who were affected by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
“This grant came out of the hurricane. It was in 2005 after the (Keith Mitchell) Government had established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China that this grant was made in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. So the idea was to assist disadvantaged families and vulnerable people coming out of the hurricane,” he said.
The NDC Political Leader stated that ten years after Hurricane Ivan there are still people throughout Grenada living under the most dilapidated conditions.
He said one of the residents who spoke to him about their plight said the tenants are not being given a true picture of the cost of the units, but they are only hearing that the cost could range in the vicinity of approximately $30,000 from officials at the Grenada Housing Authority (GHA).
Sen. Burke said residents who occupy one-bedroom units have to pay monthly installments of close to $300.00, and for those who are in the two-bedroom units the payment is $375.00.
According to him, the documents that have been given to the residents do not contain the final price of the units.
Sen Burke said amenities such as cupboards that are needed for the houses are not installed, and the residents now have to bear additional costs to have them constructed.
He said the GHA letter to the residents which was shown to him states, in part, that, “should the government have reasonable cause to withdraw this allotment from you, it is clearly understood and agreed that you will not be entitled to the refund of any part of the money that you paid to the Housing Authority in keeping with this agreement.”
The NDC Boss said this does not give the residents any assurance of ownership of the units.
He said government owes the people a much more transparent arrangement which would allow them to know what they are getting into so that they will be in a better position to make a decision of what can work for them.
Keys to the houses at Mt. Gay were first presented to the former Government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas in 2012.
Three hundred and sixty-one houses were constructed by the PRC.
A total of 153 houses were built in Soubise, St. Andrew’s, at Mt. Gay (180), and 20 houses at Frequente, St. George’s.
The official agreement was signed in 2009 between China and Grenada for the houses and construction began one year later.