The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has announced an ambitious plan to start 500 houses in each parish within 12 months of forming the government after the June 23 general election.
In outlining the NDC Housing plan at a political rally in River Sallee in St Patrick East on Sunday night, Political Leader Dickon Mitchell said that these “Grenadian style” houses will be constructed as part of a national housing programme to be undertaken in conjunction with the private sector.
“We will have a private- public partnership,” Dickon Mitchell told the large NDC supporters.
“We will do so each year thereafter so that our citizens can live in affordable housing, not apartments, with their front yards or backyards that they can improve in their own image, shape and likeness over the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years,” he said.
According to Dickon Mitchell, the NDC plan envisages that when the home owner retires “you can pass on a part of Grenada to your children and your grandchildren and you can say to them that was the vision of the National Democratic Congress.”
He explained that the houses will cater for all Grenadians including those who want to live in a 1 to 3-bedroom unit.
He said that there are vast areas of lands in both St. Patrick West and East, as well as St Andrew that can be used for building homes.
Dickon Mitchell indicated that a visit to the poor area of Grand Anse Valley in St George south should inform the present New National Party (NNP) administration that Grenadians are badly in need of housing.
He called out the Keith Mitchell-led government for not visiting these areas and engaging residents on the need to provide them with far better homes in which to live.
“The average working man deserves a proper roof over his head,” he said.
Dickon Mitchell stated that every Grenadian should have the right to stake a piece of Grenada as their own.
“The National Democratic Congress is committed to making sure that happens. It is not only the Members of Parliament who deserve good housing,” he said.
The Congress leader launched an attack on the NNP regime for not distributing the homes that were built in St David for residents by the government and people of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) given the great housing need in the area.
Dickon Mitchell said that the process being used by government to identify prospective owners of the homes is not transparent.
He charged that if the government had really cared about the people there would have been a transparent process including the criteria to find the most vulnerable persons in the community to hand them over to live in.
The NDC leader also criticised what he said was “the lack of housing for our young people, our elderly citizens who have no place to stay.”
He said that since 1985 the country has not had any “systematic plan” in place to provide “affordable housing for our people.”
“All we have had is some apartment buildings that have been provided generously by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
Dickon Mitchell also said that the time has come for Grenada “to clarify where our people will live and make sure that they have the capacity to expand (these homes) to accommodate more people in the future.
In addition, he said the island needs to keep lands that are agricultural for agricultural purposes “because we want to make sure that we can feed our people.”
“We want to make sure that we have lands reserved for agricultural purposes. We have to plan to make sure that happens because if you don’t, people would want to take the land for agricultural purposes and build homes on it,” he told party supporters.
According to Dickon Mitchell, if this happens then it would affect the island’s ability to produce cocoa, nutmegs, bananas and fruit crops like soursop.
He disclosed that a Congress government will introduce zoning laws to keep agricultural lands for agricultural purposes and we will make sure that lands that are reserved for residential purposes remain that way.
The Congress boss also made a commitment to make that lands remain at affordable prices for Grenadians because the price is too high for many citizens.
He also sent out a warning to current Prime Minister Mitchell that he intends to win the upcoming general election and replace him as leader of the country.
“This Mitchell is the future. That future begins on June 23, 2022,” Dickon Mitchell said.