NHC full of problems, says former minister
Housing construction doesn’t necessarily mean housing solutions, a former Minister of Housing contended in the House of Assembly yesterday.Gline Clarke, an Opposition MP who held the portfolio more than a decade ago, admitted that more houses are being built in Barbados, but that endless problems remained at the National Housing Corporation (NHC), ranging from antiquated ways of doing business, to issues regarding how contracts were offered.Questioning if there was any accountability at the NHC, Clarke said it was time for Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley to settle things at the Government department, which has gone through three chairmen in three years.“Is it a case of the chairman doing what he or she likes?” Clarke asked. Is there curruption there?” he queried. “The people of Barbados should always know who is in charge. The minister must set the tone,” Clarke told the House.According to Clarke, the NHC still suffered from poor service provision, since numerous calls were made to senior officials there, messages left, but no calls returned. “This has to stop. People want answers about housing. Houses are being built, but much more has to be done. Housing construction doesn’t always mean housing solutions,” the former minister contended.Clarke said numerous people visited the corporation for assistance, and got little help. “Is there a membership card system?” he asked.He said the time had come that any minister of housing be fully aware that poor people deserved a first-time home no matter if they were “Bees, Dees or Zees. The NHC is there for those in need. The board also needs to understand this. The board has to be in control, but also needs to be under control.”In addition, the MP for St George North believed poor Barbadians in his constituency were not being properly served when it came to housing opportunities.