The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) wants a share of any housing loan acquired by government and to have the opportunity to finance off budget funding for housing projects in Tobago. These are some of the issues raised at a recent meeting between Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal and THA Secretary of Settlements and Labour Assemblyman Huey Cadette.
Cadette told Wednesday’s post Executive Council media briefing that the issues will be part of a memorandum of understanding now being drafted by technocrats of the ministry and his division.
The THA is currently on a $140 million housing thrust using funds from its savings and part of its parliamentary allocation and was hoping to share in the US$50 million housing loan the central government recently obtained from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB).
He said the loan was for squatter regularisation, improvement of the housing stock, capacity building and institutional strengthening. However, he added, the Assembly wanted part of the loan for capacity building, support for its housing grants programme and for equipment and technical support for the implementation of the housing programme.
Cadette said funding for a Tobago housing programme should come from off budget sources and the Ministry of Finance had committed itself to develop a position paper with recommendations on this and also identify sources of funding available to the Assembly when approval was granted to it to obtain loans.
The housing programme was being project managed by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) whose CEO Jearlean John was present at the meeting and MTS.
He said the meeting also discussed the need to have a level of stringent oversight on its housing projects to ensure the timely delivery of units with the quality required. He said a joint team will be appointed to address long outstanding issues dating back to the former national housing authority including leases and mortgage payments.
The THA’s $140 million housing thrust includes the construction of 239 units at Adventure Phase II that will have Town Houses, Duplexes, Apartment Buildings and some single units; the development of 200 service lots at the THA-acquired Courland Estate, 50 service lots at Belle Garden Phase II and 60 service lots at Adelphi Estate.