August 15, 2007
For Immediate Public Release
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Social Transformation in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Hensley Daniel, said the island’s Housing Policy was a key component in the social transformation thrust initiated by the Nevis Reformation Party led Administration, since it took office just over one year ago.
He made the comment recently, when he delivered the feature address to mark the official launch of the Golden Grove Housing Community at Brown Hill Village, St. Johns Parish by the Nevis Housing and Lands Development Corporation. The project, which targeted single mothers and young women, came completed with utilities.
Mr. Daniel, who is also the Area Representative, said housing was a critical component to social stability and people who owned houses were likely to react differently to development than non home owners.Housing has a special social benefit, in that it provides a level of stability and security to the family and in turn the society. It helps to retain skilled people in the country, so that if people know that they can own a house in the country they no longer have to leave and that way our housing policy would in time ensure that ours skilled people remain,he said.
He said home ownership was a distinctive element of the Nevisian society and as a government, the NIA would ensure that those needs were met. He explained that home ownership had always been a hallmark of NRP administrations.
This is not new, in the previous NRP government of 1980-1992, the NRP government bought land in the St. Thomas Parish at $4.50 a square foot and sold it to the people at $3.50 in order to enable them to get housing. That underscores the commitment and we have reduced the 12 percent [tax] to make housing more affordable,he said.
The Minister explained that in the St. Johns area, the Administration had identified lands which could be made available. Notwithstanding, he urged the public to understand that the Administration favoured the establishment of settlements with recreational facilities and other services, so that people could feel they lived in communities as opposed to a house.
Mr. Daniel noted that the growth in the housing sector had brought with it allied development in electricity, water, telephone and of business places which sold building materials.
However, he said that it was important for the private sector and government to continue to work together, to seek ways to attract added resources into housing; maximise the use of available resources; build less costly units and improve the financing of units.
He said it was evident in the past year, that the partnerships forged with the NIA and the Private Sector, had demonstrated that they could improve efficiency in the construction and delivery of the homes.
Meantime, Mr. Daniel told the people of Nevis, that they should not take housing for granted. He said in his experience, Nevis had done what many other Caribbean countries were unable to do in that area.
Do not take the housing project for granted. I have had the opportunity to work with housing programmes in other countries across the Caribbean and what some countries have just been able to do, is to do sites and services. They just improve the houses that have fallen into disrepair…We are fortunate in Nevis in that we have a Nevis Island Government that is providing for you the houses with all of the services and that is what marks the NIA NRP government from the others.
We (NIA) want to say to the people of the country that housing is expensive, we recognise that but with your support and with your help and with our partner institutions like Social Security board and the Private sector we are satisfied that we can continue to transform the communities of Nevis through housing,he said.