Former Minister of Housing and Urban Development and Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday accused his successor, Randall Mitchell, of “public grandstanding,” as the ministry unveiled five under-construction Housing Development Corporation (HDC) along the East-West Corridor.
During a media tour of housing developments in St James, Valsayn, Arouca and Arima, Mitchell said Government was working towards delivering some 8,000 homes to HDC applicants by the year 2020, as it seeks to reduce an ever-growing backlog in applications at the State entity.
Mitchell estimated that the keys to some 700 homes will be distributed by the end of the year.
Moonilal was not impressed.
“Mr Mitchell has engaged in public grandstanding – complete with hard hat and boots – while insisting that he will construct 8,000 units over the next 36 months despite his miserable record of non-performance,” he said in a statement.
“The Minister’s circus was doubtlessly aimed at capturing media attention after two years of wretched failure and obscurity, even in a Government of hopeless under-performers.”
Moonilal said Mitchell must identify a single house built under his stewardship over the past two years and provide specifics of the planned construction of 8,000 homes over the next three years.
“Mr Mitchell must provide precise details of his construction plan since there is no indication of any preparatory work. Previous incomplete housing projects have been abandoned and left to decay.”
Moonilal claimed the housing sector has collapsed with “heavy equipment worth billions of dollars rusting and idle and thousands of skilled industry workers unemployed.”
Moonilal said Mitchell’s “chronic failure” contrasts that of the People’s Partnership administration, which, he claimed, delivered more than 10,000 homes, built communities, regularised squatters, expanded the rent-to-own programme and introduced public-private partnership construction projects.
The former government’s Land for the Landless programme, he said, provided subsidised lots to low and middle-income families.
“In opposition, the PNM had ridiculed the delivery of 100 homes to families each week, but Mr.Mitchell has not been able to hand over the keys for a single house constructed by his Government,” Moonilal said.
“Mr Mitchell’s promise of 8,000 homes in three years is as vacuous as his own performance as Minister of Housing. If the Minister can identify any achievement since his appointment, I will also believe there is no corruption in the lease of the vessel Ocean Flower II.”