Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 22, 2008
The handing over of the keys to ten town-house apartments in East Basseterre last week was dubbed a significant milestone in Government’s progressive housing programme.
This brought to 2000 the number of new homes distributed since 1995 when the then newly elected administration of Hon Dr. Denzil Douglas promised to revolutionize the housing landscape.
The East Basseterre structures were constructed by local contractors Ashton Williams and Hine Gumbs. Seven town houses have been completed in total; 5 in Central Basseterre and 2 in East Basseterre. Last year the “town house concept” was a new one in the Federation and some persons were apprehensive concerning sharing land space, however, it has now become very popular and highly desired, with over 1000 applications at the NHC.
The NHC originally adopted it as a solution to the number of persons seeking to live within the Basseterre area, given its capacity to comfortably house a greater number of persons with a smaller land requirement and just as spacious an interior.
Twenty-five persons received keys to their new town houses in December in the East Basseterre location. Each town house comprises 5 two-storey units. The lower level has a kitchen, dining and living room, laundry and patio while the upper level has 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and balcony.
One new home owner Sheila Morton Dorset said she was excited about owning her own home. She explained that the layout of the home is extremely modern and that she felt that the investment she made was a wise one. She explained that having lived outside the Federation for a few years she can totally appreciate the need for new housing concepts which make creative use of space.
Ms Dorset explained that she jumped at the opportunity to own such an aesthetically pleasing property with a superb view and at such an affordable cost.”
As elected representative for East Basseterre, Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin and Minister responsible for Housing Hon. Cedric Liburd were present at the ceremony and revealed the way forward for housing in the Federation.
Outlining bold initiatives to meet the increasing demands for homes, the ministers explained that as citizens see the housing dreams of others realized, they begin to accept the possibility that they too can own their own homes.
Projects have already been initiated to expand the NEMA starter homes. With this programme, the homes affectionately dubbed “half a hog head” will now receive additions to the existing structure. Construction has begun on five of these homes.
According to Minister Liburd, the SSMC Housing Project which will construct homes for 200 former SSMC employees, is scheduled to start by the end of January. The original construction of homes for first time home owners will start at 14 sites with persons who are existing land owners.
This U.S. $10 million dollar project has been funded by the Government of Venezuela which is also collaborating with the Government on the PetroCaribe Project. Under this arrangement the government purchases petrol from the Government of Venezuela allowing funds to be freed up for social development projects.
The NHC has been mandated to construct 500 houses within the next two years and the project is scheduled to start in March.