PNM’s voter padding housing policy – dangerous, environmentally unfriendly, costly and unsafe for residents
Last week’s flooding exposed the very worst aspects of a PNM housing policy that is environmentally unfriendly, unsafe for the unsuspecting residents, costly to the taxpayer and done without concern for building resilient communities.
Their policy makes sense only for padding votes especially in marginal constituencies.
Residents of the Greenvale Park housing project are waking up to the consequences of these tragic shortcomings of PNM’s flawed housing policy.
Greenvale Park was inconceivably constructed by the PNM between 2004-2009 on low lying flood plains in close proximity to three major rivers – the Guanapo River, the Caroni River and the Tumpuna River. No doubt the removal of vegetation and the likely encroachment on these nearby watercourses were major contributors to the recent flooding of this complex.
And the flooding will continue to get worse year after year as the effects of climate change, exacerbated by poor land use planning, begin to show up the hollowness of a bankrupt PNM housing policy.
Any Government with a modicum of common sense, knowledge of geology, hydrology, geography and climatology would have known better than to construct a major housing development on the banks of arguably the largest river in the country – the Caroni River. Any form four Geography student could have advised this government about doing otherwise, if they would only listen.
This would never happen in Singapore. In PNM’s haste to pad votes, appear concerned about the interest of citizens, and ensure they remain in office, they ignored potential threats to the citizens.
UNC Leader, Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar, was very correct to call for the relocation of Greenvale Park residents. She understands the long term cost to the Treasury of continuing with the status quo. Minister Young in typical PNM uncaring fashion responded that relocating residents “cannot be entertained at this time”.
It was the same thing with Las Alturas where a PNM housing project was constructed on unstable soils. Fortunately, the building collapsed even before it was occupied.
An investigation by Geotech Associates between November and December 2010 attributed the damage to the unstable land under the buildings. Meanwhile over $90 million of taxpayer funds were wasted in this costly ill-conceived project.
In February this year, the HDC proposed constructing a “multi-use” housing development complex at Curepe on the site of the St. Augustine nurseries. Thus destroying valuable agricultural lands, depriving farmers of planting stock and at the same time, tactically relocating citizens to the strategic electoral constituency of St. Augustine.
According to newspaper reports, during PNM’s tenure prior to demitting office in 2010, the Edinburgh Towers in Chaguanas went from $50 million to $150 million. The project was reportedly riddled with issues and remains an eyesore on the landscape.
Embacadere, Pleasantville, Maloney, Olera Heights and the present hurried housing project in Tarouba, visible on the northbound SH highway all are witness to the PNM government’s sole housing policy of winning elections by any means necessary.
The PNM is so shameless about their voter padding housing policy that the road, visible on the San Fernando Bypass in the vicinity of the Licensing Office is inappropriately called Balisier Avenue.
Maloney was constructed without concern for building a sustainable community. When constructed there were no playing fields, community centres, schools, or health centres. Children left to their own devices became susceptible to criminal activity. It took decades for Maloney to begin to thrive.
It is the same with Olera Heights in San Fernando where hundreds of citizens were placed without amenities in the PNM’s haste to voter pad.
PNM’s housing policy like most PNM governmental prescriptions appear ill conceived, concocted in haste, lacking in thought and strategic thinking and intolerably costly to the taxpayer.
Citizens would not mind paying more taxes if they were used efficiently and effectively but, like the wasteful Sandals scandal, the burdensome inter island ferry service, the expensively maintained and non performing vessels in the TT Ghost Guard and the $90 million dollar Brian Lara Stadium, we remain aghast at the incompetence, profligacy and stupidity of this Keith Rowley version of the PNM.
MP for Naparima