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The Chairman of the National Housing Authority (NHC), Timothy Mangal, has issued a warning to persons against reoccupying the La Clery CDC units which have already been vacated by tenants.

He explained that the buildings are unfit for human habitation.

Mangal observed that most of the units have already been demolished.

But a few are still standing.

“Back in 2014 the government of the day, and quite rightfully so, took a decision to demolish those units. The persons who were tenants at the units were offered an incentive of $10,000 to relocate. They took those incentives and then they moved,” Mangal recalled.

However he noted that unfortunately, the then government never followed up and carried out the demolition immediately thereafter.

The NHC Chairman said that as a result, squatters  took over the units that had been vacated.

“That brought in a number of activities. You have all sorts of activities happening there – illegal as well. There are all sorts of activities that are not desirable,” Mangal told reporters Tuesday.

He asserted that because of the state of the units, if persons continue to occupy them,  there could be serious liabilities.

The NHC Chairman disclosed that on the initiative of the MP for the area, Stephenson King, a ‘mixed use’ development will be created in the area.

“Have persons who are more underprivileged, deprived etc, live within a community with persons who are more capable, thereby empowering those other persons that they could learn and benefit from those people, as well as bringing in some mixed commercial activity.”

“We are looking to do this in La Clery,” he told reporters.

He appealed to persons not to reoccupy units that have been vacated, warning that the area will be deemed a special enforcement zone, empowering the NHC and the government to return and demolish units.

“Give us the opportunity, let us prepare something that is good for the people and the residents of that community,” he stated.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. We need to start a serious conversation about access to affordable housing in Saint Lucia. The traditional approaches have created marginalisation and social exclusion, It has also led to the :”dire” financial situation at the National Housing Corporation (NHC). Now we seem to be compounding the problem by allowing politicians to initiate “projects” instead of initiating “policy”. When politicians focus on projects they tend to lack a holistic approach. And in most cases they divide and weaken communities as their goals are vote seeking. Politicians perform best when they lead communities in finding innovative solutions to the challenges they face. The issue with the La Clery CDCs is not about demolishing old structures for a politician to put up a “mixed development”. No, its about how we rethink about communities, How we empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Its about how we build new institutions to give low income families a stake in their communities. We can destroy and build as much as we want in La Clery Unless we focus on empowering the community we are just providing opportunities for “individuals” to profit at the expense of low income families in marginalised communities.

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