25 get housing lots in central/south Trinidad

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Housing and Urban Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis with the 25 recipients of leases under her Ministry’s Land Settlement Agency (LSA) progamme at a ceremony at the Chaguanas Community Centre. With her is LSA CEO Hazar Hosein, left, and Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Adrian Leonce and on right is LSA’s Chairman, Wayne Inniss. Photo by Sureash Cholai

HOUSING Minister Camille Robinson-Regis oversaw the distribution of leases for land lots for 25 people to build homes, at a ceremony at Chaguanas Community Centre on Tuesday. This took place under the government-aided self help housing programme.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis with recipient Yamine Trotment. Photo by Sureash Cholai

In his welcome remarks, Land Settlement Agency chairman Wayne Inniss said out of an initial 700 applicants, some 500 had been successfully screened as eligible, and from these 25 were chosen to receive lots in this batch.

These lots are in central and south Trinidad, he said. They are all serviced with electricity and water supplies.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis presents Mala Ramoutar with her land lease documents. Photo by Sureash Cholai

Innis said this initiative showed the Government’s commitment to deliver non-traditional housing solutions. He said recipients benefit from a purchase price of 30 per cent of the market value. The LSA, Innis said, would offer recipients a range of house designs and hold their hands throughout the approval process.

Robinson-Regis, in her feature address, congratulated recipients on their patience – they had applied in 2018.

She empathised, “It has not been an easy journey, but it has been worth it.”

Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Adrian Leonce with recipient Andrea Peters. Photo by Sureash Cholai

She warned recipients that they must now construct their homes within two years. Failing this, they faced forfeiture of their land, to be passed on to other selected applicants to build.

She said the lots were at Factory Road (15 lots), Milton Road (six lots) and Cashew Gardens (four lots).

She urged recipients not to squander their opportunities, while her ministry remains focused on strengthening TT’s housing base.

Minister in the Ministry of Housing Adrian Leonce said financing available to recipients was at two per cent, comparing favourably to the six-eight per cent generally offered by financial institutions.

Robinson-Regis later told reporters that the Government had several hundred other such lots to distribute under this initiative.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis at the ministry’s Land Settlement Agency lease distribution ceremony at the Chaguanas Community Centre. Photo by Sureash Cholai

Asked if this was a drop in the bucket compared to the 180,000-plus waiting list for public housing, she said this was a separate initiative to award land, not housing, to people, based on their preference or eligibility.

She said that otherwise the Government’s housing programme was still underway with houses under construction at various sites, although she couldn’t recollect the total number of housing units off the top of her head.