THE PRIME MINISTER along with housing ministers wasted no time reminding the 73 recipients of keys to HDC homes at Mahogany Court to pay their mortgages once the move into the homes provided to them.
He did so at the distribution ceremony held at the grounds of the Mahogany Court on the Eastern Main Road in Mt Hope on Wednesday. While congratulating them on getting their new homes, Dr Rowley told the recipients their mortgages would not only assist in paying those who built their homes, NH International Ltd, but would also contribute to further building, which would allow for other people and families to be provided with affordable housing. Rowley explained that through the Public-Private Partnership programme, Government opened tenders to companies who would be able to fund the building of the apartments. The contractors borrowed money at a competitive but reasonable rate which would be equal to or less than the amount the Government would have borrowed for the project.
“Land came to HDC at a time when the demand for housing was there but the finance that was available to the Government was less and less available. We then had the problem of finding out how do we as a government finance this huge list of applications that some meaningful dent could be made” Rowley said.
“We needed to find a model where the private sector funding could be brought to bear on the public sector needs. “But this model is only going to work if and when the contractor has finished building the units and they are available for occupancy that those of you who get those units, you immediately enter into a payment regime – that is your mortgage – so the contractor can be paid for what he has built.”
The Mahogany Court project started in 2018 on 2.41 hectares of land. The four eight-storey towers which are still being completed has 160 units, with 112 units being three-bedroom apartments with two baths, and 40 units being two bedroom, two bath apartments. An additional eight apartments would be three bedroom, two bath apartments with additions for people with disabilities. The contract, awarded to NH International Caribbean Ltd, was valued as $192,040,409.20.
Rowley said the land which was used to build the towers was re-purposed from a Ministry of Works and Transport warehouse which held abandoned equipment.
MP for St Joseph, Terrence Deyalsingh, said Rowley had a vision for TT, where a new society could be built, and the development of the apartment towers at Mahogany Court exemplified that vision.
“A society is an amalgam of all of us. Our national anthem says every creed and race finds and equal place. A society is an amalgam of all its peoples. In St Joseph you will find every creed race and religion under the sun. That is what St Joseph is. And as we welcome you to St Joseph it is your duty when you occupy these homes that you bring your individual values because that is what makes a house a home,” Deyalsingh said.
“These are not free,” Deyalsingh added, “They cost money. The taxpayer has given you a gift; a lifeline to improve your collective lot.”
HDC officials said along with the housing units at Mahogany Court, 31 units were also distributed for Cashew Gardens, Carlsen Field, seven units were shared for Eden Gardens, Freeport, six units were given out for Riverside North and South in Corinth five were given in Nepuyo Court, Malabar, five more were given for Cypress Hills, San Fernando, four were given for Ridgeview heights, Bon Air North, and three were given in Trestrail Lands, D’abadie.