Letter: Response to Annette Ferguson on housing sector

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Dear Editor,

I have taken note of a letter authored by Annette Ferguson titled “APNU+AFC created a sound housing sector strategy”, and wish to respond to her missive.

The first thing I want to point out is that Ferguson claims the APNU+AFC Coalition left behind a foundation for the housing sector. I have no clue what that foundation is, because as far as I am aware, all the coalition had in regard to the sector was a hodge-podge plan which they failed to execute. No clear strategy was outlined, and the facts in the subsequent paragraphs will contradict Ferguson’s contention.

To begin with, the former Minister contended that a simple comparison of the two governments’ policies for the housing sector would show that the APNU+AFC had a better plan. I completely disagree. If the Coalition had a better plan, wouldn’t we have seen more development under their tenure? The reality is that the PPP/C Government has done more for the housing sector in just one year of being in office than what the APNU+AFC Coalition did for their entire term in office. They had five years to deliver what they promised to the people, but even that they couldn’t do.

In her letter, Ferguson outlined several housing areas to show how many houses lots were issued by the Coalition. While they did allocate a few house lots, it is important for people to know that the vast majority of those allocations were hurriedly given after the passage of the no-confidence motion, and those allocations were used to trick persons into voting for them. It turned out to be another fraud perpetrated on the people by the APNU+AFC, as those persons were merely issued letters saying that they were allocated house lots and that they should check with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) to pay.

However, these very lots were not even in existence. It was pure vote-buying and trickery.
The real beneficiaries of the APNU+AFC land allocation and housing policy were the Ministers, their relatives, friends, cronies, and the rich businessmen who bankrolled them. This group accumulated land which totalled the size of Barbados. One leading official gifted himself shore-based land in the Demerara River through a front company registered in the name of employees of his close business associate.

Forty-five plots of waterfront land in Linden were hurriedly transferred by NICIL to officials of the APNU+AFC, their friends and relatives a few days before elections were held. There is a long list of this sort of massive land-grabbing by a handful of coalition officials and their cronies; that list is out in the public.

Any comparison of housing development between the PPP/C and APNU+AFC is like comparing chalk to cheese. In just one year, the Dr Irfaan Ali-led administration has allocated more than 5000 house lots. Hundreds of turn-key homes have been constructed during this period, and significant sums are being spent on infrastructure in new and existing housing schemes. And this housing drive is not limited to Region Four. In a recent two-day exercise in Linden, Region Ten, 400 house lots were allocated. This is way more than the APNU+AFC allocated in their entire 5-year tenure.

This is an example of how big a failure the APNU+AFC was. With that in mind, I trust that no one will be fooled by the false narratives being peddled by the Opposition members.

Respectfully,
Alvin Hamilton