Seven families were last Thursday recipients of early Christmas presents as they were presented with keys to three-bedroom, two and a half bath townhouses at Dillon Crescent, Homes of Adventure Phase II Plymouth.
New homeowners were Selwyn Archie, Natasha Chapman, Catherine Gill, Carleen Toppin-Duke, Avernel Romeo, Brandon Roberts and Keon McPherson.
In a simple ceremony held at the housing development, Chief Secretary Kelvin said the units were constructed by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) at a subsidised cost of $475,000 - half the actual cost.
“You do have a responsibility to cherish these units and you really, in a real sense, have been fortunate in circumstances where the demand is greater than the supply and you would have been selected to be owners of some of these units,” Charles told the homeowners.
“Today continues to mark significant milestones in our thrust towards sustainable economic and social development here in Tobago. Our intent over the past years is really designed to provide assistance to the low and middle-income groups particularly, and it is in that context that we would have done the level of subsidy that we have provided,” he added.
Charles aid the THA was committed to facilitating the housing needs of all residents in Tobago.
“We in the THA are keen in ensuring that we empower all our residents, thus this distribution bears eloquent testament of our commitment to residents of this island. We continue along the stated path of implementing and facilitating policies and programmes imperative to and consistent with the overall development of this beautiful piece of real estate called Tobago. This is one such project as the THA, through the Division, continues to invest in improving the housing stock and essentially the housing solution here in Tobago,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Secretary of the Division, Clarence Jacob advised the homeowners to meet their contractual obligations.
“We fully understand what your home means to you and your family, however I want to remind you that home ownership is a huge responsibility. A house is a long-term investment and needs to be treated as a valuable asset. I want to encourage you to protect your home and ensure that it is insured, honour your payments and upkeep your property. I know as homeowners you may encounter difficulties, but again I want to reiterate, respect your obligations to your financial institution. You have an eleven-month period in which you may report any defects,” he said.
Jacob said the THA was doing its part in making affordable housing available to residents, having distributed some 1230 homes on the island.
“We are cognisant that the supply falls under the demand but we believe that every drop counts, even in light of the downturn in the economy,” he said.
Remarks were also delivered by Petunia Kennedy-Lewis, Director of Settlements, who congratulated the recipients, noting a significant increase in applications for affordable housing to the THA.
“The mandate of the Division of Settlements is to provide affordable housing for the people of Tobago, thus raising the quality of life for our citizens. Even so, we still have a long way to go and only through a joint effort we would be able to reach our fundamental goal,” said Kennedy-Lewis.
The Division’s Administrator, Denese Toby-Quashie, also congratulated the homeowners in having their dream of owning their own home become a reality.
“Consider yourself fortunate as home ownership is only a dream to many,” Toby-Quashie told them.
“It is important to note that the mandate of the Division is not solely to build home and communities but to improve the living standards of all of Tobago,” she stressed, as she urged the homeowners to abide by the rules and regulations governing occupation of the homes and to “be courteous to your neighbours, be a good neighbour, look out for one another, foster lasting relationships and enjoy your new home.”