The government will swap lands it owns at Orange Hill for a parcel at Sandy Bay owned by Deputy Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel, who is also parliamentary representative for North Windward, where both communities are located.
Daniel’s land will be used to build houses for people who have to be relocated as a result of the eruption of La Soufriere and the subsequent mudflows.
Further, the government will purchase Daniel’s house, located on the lands at Sandy Bay, and renovate it for use as a clinic.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, on Wednesday gave an update on NBC Radio about his government’s effort to relocate persons.
He said that the government has started construction of 27 houses at Orange Hill, which should be completed by the middle of September.
There are other lands to do other houses in Orange Hill, he said, adding that there are also lands in Colonarie on which the government can build houses for persons who do not want to continue living north of the Rabacca Dry River.
“Most people want to remain in their own locality. People, for instance in Sandy Bay, a lot of people don’t want to even go to Orange Hill. They want to go to the only piece of land which is available up there and which the public servants have said — recommended that we purchase,” Gonsalves said.
“In fact, the plan is to — I have all the documentation now, I have to just get the negotiations going with Montgomery Daniel to purchase the six-acres-plus. Well, really to exchange a piece of land in Orange Hill which the state has, to lessen the transfer of any money and to pay for his house, because he has a house, and refurbish that house and put the clinic there.”
Gonsalves noted that the lands owned by Daniel are located opposite the primary school in Sandy Bay.
“It’s a piece of land which the Physical Planning have written to me and told me — the head of Physical Planning that the land there is quite suitable for housing.
“It’s not subject to any lahars or any problems with any mudflows or any of those things. So, I am addressing that. And I am personally addressing that.
“Montgomery Daniel is involved there as a seller, as a vendor and though he is Minister of Lands, I’m working with the chief surveyor, I’m working on valuation and everything, I’m working with the Physical Planning people on suitability and all the rest of it,” Gonsalves said.
“And I am hoping to conclude that fairly shortly so that we can begin to clear there even before all the documentation is done or even before the actual – I am taking documentation for transfer or payment of any money and all the rest of it, because time is of the essence,” the prime minister said.