One year after a house collapsed in the government’s “infamous housing project in Clare Valley”, unmasking a litany of complaints about poor construction, MP for South Leeward, Nigel “Nature” Stephenson says some homeowners are yet to have their complaints addressed.
Homeowners have complained about shaky houses, popping tiles, poor drainage and other problem at the housing project, where citizens took loans and gave the money to the state-owned Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) to construct their houses. (see video at end of post)
One of the houses collapsed on Sept. 19, 2014 and another was identified for demolition, but is yet to be demolished.
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In the aftermath, the government said that EC$3.3 million was needed for remedial work in the housing project, where total investment is some EC$10 million.
Stephenson told the New Democratic Party (NDP) campaign rally in Campden Park that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) asked Parliament to approve monies for the remedial work.
“Half the houses have not been touched and the four million dollars gone,” Stephenson, who is seeking a second term as MP, told party supporters.
“Where all that money gone? Where all that money gone?” he said.
He, however, said that even worst is that the government accepted money from a number of homeowners who are still waiting for their homes to be constructed.
“Some of them came to me and say, ‘Nature ask this question for me in Parliament about the houses, please. Ah talking about Labour People coming and ask me, because I am a representative for all. I have listened to all and I do my best to represent all,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson said that hopeful homeowners are asking him to find out because they are paying the government for houses in Clare Valley and their bankers are demanding that they pay EC$1,700 every month.
“And you know what is ridiculous about this? They don’t even have a foundation to say that is the spot where my house is going. Isn’t this a government that is involved in a Ponzi scheme? Isn’t this a government that is actively ripping off the poor people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
“Which kind of government will perform such a criminal act? The people don’t have their homes, they are paying rent, they have to pay a mortgage and they still don’t have a home in Clare Valley.
“Watch a government! It is simply time to get rid of them!” Stephenson said.
He said that house should not have been built in the area, saying that the government ignored a “red flag” about the soil there.
“There was a red flag that stuck up over Clare Valley and they said this particular area, there should not be any housing because of the nature of the soil.”
He said the houses were built, however, out of political expediency, saying that the ULP wanted to increase its chances of winning the seat, hoping that the homeowners would have voted Labour in the 2010 general elections.
“That is a government that took homeowners money and built something called a house for them,” said Stephenson, who was elected to Parliament in 2010.
He noted that Beresford Phillips, who was chair of HLDC when the houses were built, is now the ULP’s candidate for Central Kingstown.
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“But the point I am making, it is the government, to my mind, that is guilty of criminal negligence. They are not concerned that these people have to repay the bank. They are not concerned that this is lifelong investment.
“What they are concerned with is building homes so that enough people can come in there in Clare Valley to register and vote against the Nature Boy.
“But we want to send a clear message to the government that that is not going to happen, because we have more support in that low-income scheme than the government has.
“We have far more support and they are coming to terms with the reality that this is a government that is not concerned about their welfare nor their safety,” Stephenson told party supporters.
(Watch below video of homeowners’ complaint after the house collapsed last year.)