Providing low-cost housing

THE EDITOR: The Minister of Housing has put forward a plan to reduce or eliminate the waiting list of 170,000 people “asking” for a house from the Government and the people of TT. One aspect of this plan is to give 1,000 individuals a lot of land at a reduced price of 30 per cent of the market value. These 1,000 lots will be insignificant in clearing the back log of 170,000. There are questions on who will get these lands. TT is such a corrupt country one cannot put faith in the fair distribution of these lands.

It seems that the technocrats and management at the HDC are either lazy or incompetent in coming up with a viable policy and plan to provide low-cost housing to deserving Trinidadians and Tobagonians. They are very narrow-minded in their thinking.

Trinidad and Tobago are very small islands. There is limited land space. Land must be set aside for agriculture, commercial use, and public use. The HDC insists on building one house on a plot of land thereby taking up valuable land space. The country has many housing sites with little houses taking up large land space. In other countries there are policies to provide multi-family buildings to house their populations. HDC should be planning multi-family units all over the country to maximise the use of scarce land and to house a higher density of the population. This would reduce the large waiting list for low-cost housing by the Government. These units could be up to ten storeys whereby one building could house over 100 families. The cost per unit will be cheaper than building the small houses which are expensive and take up so much valuable land. Single housing should be left to the private sector to develop and sell that type of homes. This will allow for maximum use of the scarce land in TT and make the goal of providing housing to the low income and needy an easy task.

There are two skeletons of multi-storey buildings in Edinburgh 500 in Chaguanas which were constructed eight years ago under the Patrick Manning administration. The Peoples Partnership did not complete the buildings therefore the people of TT were short changed again.

The Minister of Housing should demand better ideas from his technocrats at the HDC to solve the huge backlog of housing applicants. The multi-family policy should be pursued to help solve this problem. The minister in the previous Peoples Partnership government spent billions of dollars and did not achieve much in solving the problem. He wanted to give everyone a house with “a front and back yard.” What a foolish policy!

The hard-working taxpayers of TT demand and expect more from those who spend our hard-earned tax dollars.

Krishna Ramrattan, Chaguanas


"Providing low-cost housing"

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