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Government to acquire land for City housing

Government to acquire land for City housing
Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance Dwight Sutherland. (GP)

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Government will use the parcels of land acquired in Kensington New Road and Beckles Land, St Michael to improve the living conditions for the residents, and by extension, stem the social decay in those areas.

That was the assurance from Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance Dwight Sutherland, who was speaking in the House of Assembly on Tuesday morning as he led debate on the Resolution Section 3 Land Acquisition Act, Cap 228, Kensington New Road and Beckles Land.

Families in the areas of Murphy’s Pasture will be temporarily moved in order to facilitate the completion of the housing development project when it starts.

The resolution, which was later approved, would allow for the compulsory state acquisition of the 782.5 square metres of land located at Kensington New Road and around 3 466.6 square metres at Beckles Land, New Orleans for housing development.

Sutherland said that this resolution was integral to revitalising parts of the city which are currently in turmoil.

“Some officers from the Ministry of Housing went to assess the derelict buildings next door to the lands we own. When they approached the door to ask a question, someone with a cutlass came out and scared the living daylights out of the officer who went to Mason Hall Street only to assess its availability so we can clean up the City and give people what we call resilient, affordable housing,” Sutherland said.

“We want to improve their social standing so we can give them the opportunity to revive themselves in an area that, once lit and revived, is an excellent commercial city; a place where people would want to do business and go to school and earn a living.”

Sutherland, who has been the Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance since 2020, added: “One of the properties in New Orleans, Beckles Land has encroachments running away with bush and we can’t allow our city to go into decay. Poor housing is associated with ill health and social decay. There is a direct correlation between the two. We are not going in just to build housing, we are going to improve the standard of living of the people within those areas.”

Senior Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, Dr William Duguid says that the Government is wary of tackling more than they can handle and will approach the problem in sizable amounts so that it is done properly.

“We will go at it in little chunks as we lost the money from the Inter-American Development Bank. So we intend to do these projects out of savings and the normal transition of central Government funds so that bit by bit we still achieve that improvement to Greenfield,” he explained. (JC)