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HAG official: NNP did a poor job in handling the Chinese low-cost houses

Chinese houses in Diamond St Mark

A top official of the Housing Authority of Grenada (HAG) has slammed the former New National Party (NNP) administration of Keith Mitchell for its handling of the low-cost housing units provided to the island by China.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY, the official lamented that there was no oversight by Grenadian authorities who just allowed the Chinese to build whatever they wanted.

He said it appears that when the Chinese offer a donation to Grenada, there is no serious effort by the local authorities to look carefully at it.

“I think the NNP government just allowed the Chinese to do what they want because they are lazy,” he added.

According to the HAG official, the long delay in the distribution of the Chinese houses was due to the failure of the former regime to make sure that a number of things that were lacking in the houses were put in place to pave the way for the recipients to take possession of their new homes.

He said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has only been in office for the past 21 months and was faced with the problem of sorting out the issues with the Chinese houses.

“This is all a NNP problem. This housing problem is all a NNP problem. Nobody from NNP obviously assessed these things,” he remarked.

The official cited another problem that resulted in the delay in the handing out of the Chinese houses was the failure of HAG to find the necessary permission for the donor country to actually build the houses.

He also said that HAG was only able to get the Deed for the houses in January as it was previously under the control of the government.

He pointed at discrepancies with the Chinese drawings for the units and indicated that Building No.1 on the Chinese plan showed 10 units but only 4 units were actually built.

“So Housing had to go now to redraw every single plan for the developments because that’s what the Condominium act requires – you must identify every unit in every space to register them,” he remarked.

The official stated after HAG prepared their plans for the new homes based on the Chinese plan but the state body then had “to start from scratch and redo every single plan.”

“The thing was craziness for the last two months,” he said.

An official of the Chinese Embassy on the island has refuted the allegations on the building of the units not in keeping with the original design plan.

Related:  Chinese houses are ready for distribution

“I think (these people) have a misunderstanding,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

Under the agreement, China committed to build 647 units in five locations on the island – 226 units at Corinth in St David, 130 in Diamond, St Mark, 70 units in Villa in St Patrick, 121 units at Beausejour, St George North-west, and 100 in Dumfries Estate on the sister isle of Carriacou.

“We hope all the units could be distributed to the qualified applicants as soon as possible,” said the Chinese official.

The HAG official referred to some of the problems being encountered at the Chinese-built units at Diamond in St Mark.

He said the authority is now looking to build a laundry at Diamond as there were no facilities for people to hang their clothes.

He added that the existing situation would have resulted in the homeowners being forced to hang out their clothes after washing, on their verandah to dry them.

He also said that no cupboards were built in the units and what was found on the inside was “just a sink stand up in a kitchen, no cupboards in the kitchen.”

He said that HAG has been engaged “over the past nine months” retrofitting the units and putting in all the basic infrastructure to get the houses ready for distribution to the people.

“It’s been a total mess,” he said.

Another official of HAG also addressed the issue as to why the decision was taken to identify the houses at Diamond as the last on the list for distribution.

He said the authority can go ahead and distribute the hoses but the residents will not be able to get a good flow of water in them.

He indicated that the height of the buildings is much higher than NAWASA’s water reserves and it is difficult for water to reach up there.

He said that a tank will have to be installed by NAWASA to assist in bringing water to the units.

“We are going to get a pump to pump the water up to the tank and then the tank through gravity feed would feed the building. So we are working on that now,” he said.

The official said it is the hope that by the time HAG is ready to roll out the houses the water system should be put in place by NAWASA for the new occupants to move into the Chinese houses.

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