Former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali has taken to task Chairman of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Hamilton Green who declared recently that some $100 million is to be spent on rectifying defects on Turnkey Homes built under Ali’s watch at Providence and Perseverance, East Bank Demerara.
Green told a news conference Thursday that the CH&PA board visited the two communities and were taken aback by the magnitude of defective houses handed over to persons. “Two Saturdays ago we met allottees of Perseverance here and there was a series of tears and stories of trials and tribulations. Bad roofs, leaking roofs, doors that don’t function as doors, paint peeling, sanitary facilities which don’t provide the basics, septic tanks which were porous and ineffective, floors that were doing a special dance,” recounted Green.
He described the housing programme initiated under the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration as ill-conceived.
However, Ali, the Minister behind the massive housing boom in Guyana, described Green’s statement as “shocking”.
In a post on his facebook page, the former housing minister also questioned the $100 million Green said will be spent on fixing the ‘defective’ homes, noting that CH&PA had previously stated that corrective works on the Turnkey Homes would have cost about $20 million.
“How is this now estimated at $100 million plus?” Ali asked. Ali explained that new works in the 1000 Homes Project was projected at just over $50 million, which included the completion of more than 200 homes that were delayed for a substantial time by the current Administration which was in opposition at the time.
Ali further contended that some of the homes were completed almost three to four years now, while each of the homes had a defect liability period of one year in which the beneficiary can report any faults.
“The contract then provides for the contractor to take corrective work,” he stated. He further lamented that the Turnkey Homes and the 1000 Homes Project are two completely different projects.
“The 1000 Homes were still under construction when I left office. After the elections massive vandalism took place by invaders who even went in and occupied the homes. 200 homes under the 1000 Homes were still under construction,” he stated.
Guyana’s housing programme was on several occasions hailed by many including regional leaders as the most revolutionary in the Caribbean.
During a visit to Guyana in September 2013, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves lauded the local housing programme as extraordinary and expressed hope that the private sector would assist with the investment programme for housing in his country. Ali, as minister had taken Gonsalves on a tour of the East Bank Housing Development.