Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is calling on his successor, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Marlene Mc Donald, to prevent the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) from taking possible punitive action with respect to residents in at least three of its estates in his constituency.
This follows complaints by constituents at Wellington Gardens, Debe, Ridgewood Gardens, Golconda and Hillcrest Gardens, Retrench, that the HDC has written to owners and tenants threatening to remove fences, burglar proofing and other structures attached to the corporation’s units.
In a letter to Mc Donald, which was sent to media houses, Moonilal said prior to last month’s general election, it had come to his attention that the HDC intended to take action against tenants for violating the rules governing the occupation of HDC units.
Moonilal said he later concluded that some of the HDC’s rules were “punitive, archaic, and unsuitable” to estates, particularly in rural areas that are also crime infested.
He said he directed the then Board of Directors to undertake a review of those rules and to cease to take action against those home owners pending the review.
“Apparently, this policy direction has been reversed such that HDC staff are now visiting and issuing letters to tenants/ homeowners and threatening punitive action,” Moonilal wrote in the letter.
The former housing minister told Mc Donald that the estates, particularly Wellington and Retrench, have been plagued by poor infrastructure and many defects.
Moonilal recalled that in June 2010, one month after the former People’s Partnership government had assumed office, he had highlighted in the media the serious problems which the residents faced.
“Today, many residents have erected fences not only for their protection but to prevent landslips and landslides from undermining their units,” he wrote.
“In addition, these areas have been plagued by criminal activity and a series of reports have been lodged at the relevant police stations to testify to this. Therefore, tenants and homeowners have been installing burglar proofing and have kept dogs as protection for their family and their homes.” Moonilal said the HDC must adopt “a human approach” and deem these estates to be special zones because of the poor construction and poor drainage faced by tenants/ homeowners.
“In some cases, tenants/ homeowners have properly written to HDC seeking permission to make alterations and installations to which they have not received a timely response,” he wrote.
Moonilal urged Mc Donald to suspend potential punitive actions, pending a review of the rules, particularly for housing estates in rural areas that are themselves the subject of widespread criminal activities.