The Government has ordered EC$4.5 million in building material from a Jamaican firm and says it will buy more locally to repair the houses damaged by floods and landslides triggered by the trough system on Christmas Eve.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference on Monday that just under EC$10 million is needed to repair houses. The figure does not include the cost of labour.
So far, 495 houses have been reported as having been damaged by the extreme weather.
“Many of these houses, in fact, most of them, should be relocated. The assessment is that probably as many as 300 of them should be relocated,” he said.
“Well, if that is the case, and you were to build a three-bedroom house for some, even if you [buy] material in bulk, … you will have to spend in the region of $120,000 [per house], without any expensive finishing,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.
He said that when infrastructure is factored in, the total relocation cost could be as much as EC$45 million.
The materials were ordered from Tankweld Ltd. in Jamiaca, which is also making a contribution but is yet to announce the value, Gonsalves said.
“I expect that coming in from Jamaica would be in excess of $5 million worth of materials,” he said, adding, “On the local level, we are going to purchase well in excess of that 4.5 million.”
Gonsalves said he has to write to Tankweld to confirm the terms of the arrangement, but said that monthly payments will be made from February through to December.
“… I need the materials now, and I need a certain volume now, which I have to make sure is managed properly to be distributed for the rebuilding purposes and the repair purposes and the relocation purposes of those who have suffered from the storm,” he said.
Gonsalves said that East Caribbean Metals Industries Ltd., is prepared to credit the Government up to EC$2 million in material and Browne’s Hardware will credit EC$1 million.
He said that a big hardware operation, which he did not identify, is prepared to give EC$1.5 million in credit for six months.
That same hardware is also looking at giving a substantial contribution in materials also, but is yet to say the extent of the contribution, because it has to be confirmed by its board of director.
Yet another hardware dealer has said that they will talk to the other person involved, while another will give $500,000 credit for up to three months, Gonsalves said.
“So, as you notice, there are significant materials which are mobilised,” Gonsalves said.
He that the value of buying from local sources is that they can keep the material in their storerooms and help with transportation.
He said that in ordering from Tankweld, even if the Government gets materials on good terms, it still has to store the material.