Lawyer and senator Jomo Thomas says “the problems are real” in Clare Valley (IWN photo)

Homeowners at the Clare Valley housing project, where the house collapsed on Friday, have appointed a committee to represent them in their interactions with the government.

The committee was appointed at a meeting on Saturday, attended by some 22 homeowners and Unity Labour Party candidate for South Leeward, Sen. Jomo Thomas, who told I-Witness News that the problems at the housing project are real and “cry out for serious attention”.

One homeowner who attended the meeting, but asked not to be identified, told I-Witness News that the committee is made up of Donnie Collins, Rafique Jackson, Sean Brewster, Kevin Young, Nigel Blake, and Bridgette Francois.

The homeowner said the committee was mandated to write to the state-owned Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC), which constructed the houses, and copy the letter to the Ministries of   Finance and Housing, Area Representative, opposition MP Nigel Stephenson, and the media.

Homeowners are demanding that the HLDC construct proper drains in the area, and reinforce the columns on which many of the houses stand.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday that preliminary findings show the three-bedroom concrete house, belonging to physician Katisha Douglas, collapsed because of poor drainage, poor engineering, and the type of soil in the area.

Douglas told reporters on Saturday that she had complained to HLDC two months ago that the house, which was built 30 months ago, was shaking.

Related: Poor engineering and drainage, soil issues caused house to collapse

Meanwhile, Thomas a lawyer who became a senator for the ruling ULP last September, told I-Witness News on Tuesday that homeowners at Sunday’s meeting were “angry, they were anguished.

“They talked about the numerous complaints they had made to the authorities, the principals of the Housing and land Development Corporation, and, in their words, the scant regard which was given to many of their complaints,” Thomas said.

“They talked about the fact that some of the principals of HLDC seem to think that they (homeowners) have been done a favour. And they know they were not done a favour. True, they were given as chance to own a home, but they were not done a favour because many of them have 15-, 20-, 25-year mortgages, which they have to meet every month.”

Thomas said that homeowners are asking for meet with the HLDC at the Clare Valley Community Centre “to further hear their views and for HLDC to tell them what they intend to do to respond to the pressing concerns”.

He said he had known about some of the homeowners’ concerns having made representation on their behalf to the HLDC even he became a senator.

“There’s a chronic problem as it relates to drainage, the problems relating to popping tiles — the tiles were popping off the floor – there are problems in a number of homes relating to shaky structures, where people say when they are in their home they can feel their home shaking,” he further said.

“The problems are real. They cry out for serious attention. In fact, the last representation I made for a police officer who lives down there, I remember making the point that this was a catastrophe waiting to happen and it demanded urgent attention,” Thomas said.

“Homeowners’ concerns were coming to me even before the former CEO Morris Slater died,” Thomas said.

Slater died in January 2013.

Thomas said he did not organise the meeting, but was invited to attend it.

He said he believes he was invited because he had made representation for homeowner, and because he is the ULP’s candidate and caretaker for South Leeward, where Clare Valley is located.

The government has said that it will pay to rebuild the house that collapsed and will finance the remedial work on all the houses that may be found to have structural issues.

2 replies on “Clare Valley housing project problems ‘cry out for serious attention’ — ULP candidate  ”

  1. There is a lot I don’t understand here.

    1. When someone borrows money to build or buy a house in SVG aren’t they obliged to purchase what is called “mortgage insurance” from a broker to protect the lender’s interest in the property? If the money was borrowed from the government, didn’t the government oblige the owner to purchase mortgage insurance?

    2. What was the builder’s insurance responsibility, if any? In civilised countries, builders are required to be responsible for certain damages, including collapse of the dwelling, for a specified number of years.

    3. Why are relatively well-off people like physicians and police officers given such homes?

    4. Why is the Government building such homes anyway? Shouldn’t they be introducing policies and programmes to help people help themselves to amass the capital to acquire a dwelling of their own? Nowhere in the developed world that I am aware of are houses built for people. At the most, poor people are placed in subsidized housing such as apartments.

    5. What is the political affiliation of those who received these homes?

  2. Let there be no doubt whatsoever, these houses were built for the ULP elite, these are top end housing for those ULP members that support the ULP and its Marxist leaders. There are no low cost or middle income houses here, to afford one of these houses you must be earning a serious income. Probably be a government employee and be faithful to the cause.

    You see even in this story there are house owners, ULP Marxist supporters who ask for their names not to be mentioned.

    You cannot reinforce the columns, the buildings need pulling down and piling must take place down to the bedrock and the columns sit on the pilings.

    Proper drains will not save the situation, the problem lays much deeper than that.

    If this one house had a problem, all the houses are at risk from the same problem.

    As for Jomo Thomas, get your arse out of there, you do not have the slightest idea what you are talking about, stop being silly and leave it to the experts.

    Thomas you were invited to the meeting because you are the representative of these fairly wealthy home owners, and they are all supporters and collaborators of the ULP, for no other reason. They think that you will fight their corner, and I hope you do, because rich or poor they deserve justice. They thought being ULP had paid off for them, but it has turned out like just about every ULP project, a bitter pill.

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