Opposition Senator Shevern John says she welcomes the government’s plan to build 150 houses nationwide under the Lives to Live programme, adding that these houses should have at least two bedrooms.
The government has said it would construct 60 one-bedroom houses and 90 two-bedroom houses under the programme next year.
“I am also of the firm opinion and the firm view that if we are constructing houses, let us construct from two-bedroom houses and up. Let us forget about the one-bedroom houses,” John said during the estimates debate on Dec. 19.
She said it is difficult for a family of three or four to be placed in a one-bedroom house.
“If we have the money, the monies are available, I believe that let us construct two bedrooms and up.”
John said a house should have two bedrooms even if it is being built for “a one man” (single person).
“The man may get old; he may need someone to take care of him. If he has a one-bedroom, where would that person stay?” John said.
“If he has a visitor, where would that person stay? So, we have to enter into the feelings of these people. Persons are grateful, but I am saying — and as I said, this is me stating — that I don’t believe in building any one-bedroom home for anyone,” John said.
“I believe in building a two-bedroom house up because it makes them comfortable.”
The government has further stated that it will purchase building material to be distributed to vulnerable people, including the disabled, indigent and the elderly.
The opposition senator said she hopes that there is equity in the distribution of the building material “and that you don’t have to hear who you are associated with to get these materials”.
John also welcomed work on the sea defence at Sandy Bay, where hundreds of feet of land has been eroded by the sea over the last few decades.
“I have seen the concern of persons who are living along that coastal area. And I’m sure that they will get some relief knowing that this project is going to get done,” she said.
The senator said it is important that affected people feel comfortable in the relocation process and that it goes “smoothly and fairly”.
She said it is also important that the people who are relocated are made “comfortable in whatever is provided for them.
“It is not easy to move from one place to another and you’re not comfortable. And the person is saying you have to take it. Not because they’re giving it to you means that you have to take whatever they gave to you,” John said.
“Consultations must be done. And persons must feel a part of what is being done so that they can understand if it’s a one-bedroom house you’re getting … they can understand because we have spoken and you know that this is what we have and this is what we’re going to give to you.”