Coverley prices financial rape, says Arthur

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 17 August 2010

owencoverley

FORMER PRIME MINISTER OWEN ARTHUR has described the pricing regime at the recently unveiled Government/private sector housing project at Coverley, Christ Church, as akin to the “financial rape” of Barbadians.Addressing the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) St Lucy branch meeting at Selah Primary School, St Lucy, on Sunday night, Arthur said a two-bedroom house at “The Villages” on a mere 660 square feet of land was being sold for $281 000, while a three-bedroom house on 814 square feet was going for $333 000. He noted the houses were out of the reach of the average Barbadian.Arthur recalled that under his administration a two-bedroom house and land for lower income earners at Lower Burney, St Michael, was sold for $106 000. He noted that Bjorn Bjerkham’s JADA Company was now selling a similar property for almost three times that price. He said a three-bedroom house and land at Lower Burney went for $120 000.“The DLP recently completed a project at Marchfield [St Philip] and they were able to sell a two-bedroom house on 644 square feet for $130 000, but Coverley is $281 000. A three-bedroom house at Marchfield on 860 square feet, bigger than the ones at Coverley, for $187 000, but at Coverley they are $333 000,” he said.He called on Barbadians to do the numbers themselves by multiplying 1 000 houses by what was being made off each house and they would realise that the Coverley project was as close as one could get to finding gold on the island if one were a developer.“These people are making at least $100 000 per house and as much as $125 000 per house, and this does not include the profits that they are making because they are doing the fabrication of the houses themselves,” Arthur indicated.The St Peter MP said the Democratic Labour Party was always spouting rhetoric about “the small black man”, but to ask poor people to buy houses at Coverley was “financial rape”. Juxtaposing black Haitians being required to pay France hundreds of millions of dollars after becoming independent with Barbadians having to pay large sums for the houses at Coverley, Arthur likened the project to one of “reverse reparation”.He said that passing such largesse to just one developer at a time when the construction class in Barbados “was sucking salt” could only be described as “sick and disgraceful”. Arthur added that a similar situation was about to occur at Bushy Park, St Philip. “When will it stop?” he asked, adding that as Prime Minister his stated and recorded policy had always been to include and encourage along small contractors as the construction industry advanced. (WG)

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