Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP met with a group of residents of Gomez Trace Housing Development Phase II, Moruga on Wednesday 18th September, 2019, who have raised a number of issues to be resolved with the Housing Development Corporation.
Late last year the Government offered two-bedroom units in Phase II at a price of $330,000 and three-bedroom units at a price of $420,000.
However, months later when residents were called to view the model unit and were forced to enter into an agreement, they were informed that the price increased.
A two-bedroom would now cost $450,000 – a price increase of $120,000 or 36% of the original offer and the three-bedroom would cost $625,000 – a price increase of $205,000 or 48% of the original offer.
Residents were also informed that if they were not prepared to accept the units, the units would be re-allocated, and they would lose the offer.
Most of the applicants had already been on the waiting list 10-20 years and signed the agreements under undesirable circumstances.
Regrettably, that was not the least of the residents’ concerns, as they began to discover a host of problems with the housing units, including:
– sewer leaks
– poor construction
– drainage issues
– lack of staircases to the emergency exits
– one ingress and egress in some cases
– no tiling
– electrical issues
– structural issues
It was revealed that some ended up spending out of their own pockets to fix the units as they wanted to ensure the safety and comfort of their families. In addition, the residents wrote to the Member of Parliament for Moruga/Tableland, Dr. Lovell Francis, on several occasions, to no avail.
Every one of the residents completed the HDC defects sheets and submitted within the stipulated time frame, but only a few got relief. Up to today, many of the issues remain unresolved.
A pre-action protocol letter will be sent to the Housing Development Corporation through attorneys acting on Mrs. Persad-Bissessar’s instructions, which calls upon the HDC to:
· Return to the initial offer of the two-bedroom housing units which were offered at a price of $330,000 and the three-bedroom housing units were offered at a price of $420,000.
· That the HDC immediately assess the defective housing units and remedy such defects in a timely manner.
· To compensate the clients for the sums that they have expended for repairs.
In the event HDC fails to comply with the above, it would result in the pursuit of High Court proceedings.
During her conversation with the affected residents, Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar said, “I am here because I stand against injustice. You all are suffering an injustice and we will work with you to correct that. This is not about votes it is about fixing an injustice.”
The Opposition Leader reiterated the UNC’s commitment of service to people.
“The PNM has a demonstrated track record of neglecting and some cases taking advantage of the most vulnerable in our society,” she said. “In order for Trinidad and Tobago to move forward, we must build and invest in our communities. We must ensure that the people from Gomez Trace, and those in similar situations have the opportunity to have their voices heard. The UNC will give them that voice.”