Problems at Chinese built houses

A resident at the Mt Gay/Mt Rush Housing Complex wants the Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell himself to intervene, as living conditions at the three year-old facility worsen, for her and other residents.

The Mt. Rush Housing Complex which was built by the Chinese as a gift to the Government and People of Grenada

According to Sharon Calliste, who lives on the second floor of an apartment building, for three years she has complained to the managing body, the Grenada Housing Authority, about her leaky roof but the problem remains unresolved.

In several other units, where there is a top floor, the same problem has been occurring and some affected residents have re-routed plumbing, abandoning the original system.

Now there is evidence of water damage in ceilings and side walls, as a result of the continuous leaking of water from an unknown source.

Calliste said she is going public, hoping to get the attention of Prime Minister Mitchell, as she has been unable to try to see him in person.

The Housing Authority employs a maintenance person to take care of utility and structural issues at the complex.

Repairs are difficult since all fittings in the buildings are exclusively Chinese and not readily available on the local market.

The low-income homes were a gift from the Chinese government and is one of three already settled.

Photo of the type of damages as seen on the inside of the apartment

A number of similar developments are currently under construction around the country including Corinth, St. David and The Villa in St. Patrick.

Others are to be built in Dumfries in Carriacou, Diamond, St. Mark and Beausejour in St. George North-west.

In order to do effective plumbing and electrical repairs on the affected units at Mt. Gay, whole systems require changing, creating added expense that many occupying the homes say, they did not expect.

Because of poorly constructed windows, water flows in through crevices in almost every weather-facing window, forcing some to spend hundreds of dollars replacing the outdated louvered glass, installed by the Chinese.

Last December, Parliamentary Representative Tobias Clement was invited into one of the affected homes for a first-hand look at the problem and had promised to look into the matter.
Almost a year later residents are now calling on the Prime Minister to help them.

“If you know you don’t have proper accommodations then you can’t have people living in this kind of condition,” said another apartment dweller.

The woman, who asked that her identity be kept secret, said she fears that mold in her apartment because of the constant dampness is making her sick.

For every resident who is complaining there are more keeping silent, either afraid of eviction or concerned about appearing to be critical of government, in an area predominantly sympathetic to the ruling New National Party(NNP) of Prime Minister Mitchell.

“This has nothing to do with politics, people not supposed to be held hostage because they support a political party.

“This is not supposed to be. At the end of the day we are Grenadians, you respect people’s rights but when it comes to situation like this you can’t stay silent because of politics,” one resident, also requesting anonymity, told us.

She complained of having to mop up water at all hours of the day.

“I can’t stop nature but if we put measures in place to stop it from hitting and lashing at us that would be something good,” she said.

The same woman is also questioning whether the material used for construction are approved for human dwellings.

She said she is concerned about the fact that when it rains water also enters through the walls while chunks of wall treatment are constantly flaking off.

This problem is common to several other units in the complex.

When residents suggested canopies to protect the windows from rain the proposition was dismissed by the Housing Authority as too expensive.

The Housing Authority has been struggling to maintain the facility and many residents are in arrears, putting cash for remedial works in short supply.

The HAG is also responsible for covering the annual insurance on the facility, part of which is included in the monthly installments tenants are required to pay.

There is no residents organisation to speak on behalf of the tenants and efforts to create one were thwarted by political interference.

Some residents are now calling for one as structural and social conditions worsen.

“People have to come together and try to unite so the movement could start moving”, said a tenant.

Housing Minister Delma Thomas has given assurances that the new homes under construction will be better made.

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