The United Workers Party (UWP) has its own plans for housing development in Dominica and says it will be different from what is being offered by the current administration.
The UWP says first and foremost the people will be consulted during the housing development project and a UWP government will provide housing not based on what they think the people want, but what the people need to improve their housing quality.
“First of all, the housing programme of this administration lacks transparency. It lacks consultation; it lacks understanding of the needs of the people, their cultural needs and their traditions,” UWP Senator, Isaac Baptiste said while addressing a press conference held at the Prevo Cinemall on Wednesday.
He said the United Workers Party recognizes that there are different needs with respect to housing.
“We will not promote multiple unit, multi-level housing in rural areas where there is adequate land to provide housing,” Baptiste maintained.
He said many of the people who may benefit from this programme have access to land.
“We will work with them and build houses on their land so they have automatic ownership of those properties and not wait for some politician to tell them I will give you strata title and don’t know when they will get it,” Baptiste explained.
Furthermore, he noted that the UWP housing programme will also bring back life in the City of Roseau by ensuring that there is multiple and mixed housing in the City, “so that young professionals can come back and live in the city and improve night life in the City of Roseau.”
“Our housing programme will also ensure that, recognizing that families, many of them are single parents and the are expanding families, so we must provide them with expandable homes and not fix them into four walls that they cannot expand their homes,” Baptiste, who is an Urban Planner by training, remarked.
He said the UWP plans to build core housing in order for families to extend their homes whenever they choose to do so.
Baptiste mentioned the location of Fond Cole as a “perfect example.”
“When I attended school in Roseau High School, Fond Cole – what we saw on that hill was basically timber houses…today what you see there, expensive homes, family homes built by the owners, not waiting on the government to give them grants,” Baptiste pointed out.
Meantime, opposition leader, Lennox Linton said as a government, his party will have a housing programme that is fair to all; that pays attention to the needs of all.
“What will not happen under the UWP government is what I heard about recently, and I heard and I hope you heard it to,” he said. “The Declaration from the declared Labour Party Candidate for Roseau North that there is going to be a housing revolution in Roseau North in the month of May.”
Linton explained that this means that the declared candidate for Roseau North who has specific ministerial responsibility that does not include housing, clearly has the authority of the Minister of Housing to go ahead and announce a housing revolution in Roseau North where he is not the parliamentary representative.
“Only the declared Labour Party candidate has the authority to declare a housing revolution in Roseau North,” Linton argued.
Linton stated that the housing needs and the housing assistance request of the people of Dominica Post-Maria have been surveyed extensively by international organizations, local organizations and the people’s own Ministry of Housing.
“Notwithstanding that, you hear talk about, almost as though the housing ministry of the people does not know what is going on,” he noted. “The money to help the people in need of housing assistance is coming from international organizations and friendly government, through grants, donations, soft loans, it’s coming through the sale of our passports, and it’s coming through our taxes…”