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Gonsalves Dowlat Parbhu

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, right, and General Manager of Demerara Bank Ltd., Dowlat Parbhu. (Photo: Facebook/APISVG)

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The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has signed an EC$6 million loan arrangement with Demerara Bank Ltd. (Guyana) for the purchase of 50 prefabricated houses from Guyana.

The prefabricated houses, built by Duravilla Homes, a company in Guyana, consist of one-, two- and three-bedroom models, and are engineered to withstand up to category 4 hurricanes.

The houses are expected to be delivered in March, 2023 as part of the government’s efforts to rebuild and repair communities that were devastated by the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in 2021.

Speaking at the signing ceremony on Friday in Kingstown, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said the agreement marks an important moment in regional integration.

“We do not know of any other case in the Caribbean where a government, in financing an aspect of its public sector investment programme, … borrowed money from a bank, a commercial bank, in Guyana and also an indigenous bank in Guyana.”

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Gonsalves said the houses are of good quality and durability and soon personnel from Duravilla, the Guyana company producing them, will visit St. Vincent to aid in the assembling of the houses as well as train local artisans in the process.  

The prime minister said he has been in continuous discussions with President of Guyana Irfaan Ali over this collaboration.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the prices quoted first are reduced. We are getting reasonable terms to rebuild homes destroyed by La Soufriere,” Gonsalves said.

“Workers in SVG going to get a transfer of skills because Duravilla is going to send persons here to show them in respect of the assemblage of these houses.”

Gonsalves noted that Guyana is a country with immense natural resources and continues to make significant contributions to the Caribbean community.

“I always make the prediction that Guyana will be a substantial part of saving the Caribbean and the integration movement,” he said.

Meanwhile, General Manager of Demerara Bank Ltd., Dowlat Parbhu agreed with Gonsalves that the agreement is a significant moment in the demonstration of the integration movement and noted that there are other sectors in Guyana and SVG that can collaborate.

“Guyana is on a path of development — new found oil, there are so many new niches that are coming so fast, we need to train our people,” Parbhu said.

“I think it is a starting point for many such collaborations in the future.”

Deputy Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel, who is area representative for North Windward, where some of the houses will be built, said he is pleased with the development as it complements other initiatives by the government such as the refurbishment and rebuilding of a number of homes in North Windward affected by the eruption.

So far, the government has rebuilt and or refurbished over 900 houses.

“We have areas identified as Orange Hill, Sandy Bay and Langley Park where we can have some houses built. There are some lots available at Coloniarie and in the area of Cumberland in North the Leeward constituency, that area has been identified to which we can also have houses built,” Daniel said.

And, Minister of Housing Dr. Orando Brewster said the houses that are being purchased are of the highest quality.

“These homes are durable and even the finished aspect of these homes, I am happy to report that the homes we are acquiring are of excellent quality,” Brewster said.

“… I want folks to rest assured that what we  are giving to you is not something that is ramshackled, something that we knock up overnight, these are homes that are built to standards and specifications.”

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1 Comment

  1. Please Mr. PM do not continue to insult the intelligence of Vincentian tradesmen. Couldn’t our tradesmen build the homes from scratch with local materials and a minimum of imported materials? Why couch your efforts to cozy up to Guyana as that country is on the cusp of benefiting from its petroleum resources as an exceptional benefit to SVG? With rampant unemployment in SVG, how could importing prefab houses with borrowed money be a sensible economic venture?

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