Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Letter of the Day | Build homes for the average man

Published:Wednesday | August 14, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) is assisted by Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (right) and Pearnel Charles Jr, minister without portfolio, in officially breaking ground last Friday for the Rhyne Park development in Montego Bay, St James.


I recently watched the news report on the groundbreaking ceremony for approximately 754 housing units at Rhyne Park Estate in Rose Hall, Montego Bay, St James. The cost ranges from $7.9 million to $18.5 million.

Even so, the prime minister went further to declare that the National Housing Trust was on track to construct some 22,000 more houses by the end of the financial year.

However, who are these homes really for? Certainly not the average Jamaican.

Let me give you a scenario.

When a student graduates from tertiary-level education and is unable to find employment, can he or she afford these homes? When he or she is job-hunting for months and every job ad asks for two to five years’ experience, is this growth? When this individual still has to rely on his or her parents who simply want to retire, is this transformation?

These homes that are being created are for those who are already employed, those who are earning enough to save a portion every month, and those who are in well-paying jobs – simply, those who are already wealthy.

For the young man or young woman, those homes are just dreams. Once he reaches the point where he can afford them, the cost would have already increased.

The average Jamaican cannot afford them. If you look at the cost for rent and how the average Jamaican is struggling, you would definitely understand.

Mr Prime Minister, I urge you to consider the youth of this nation. Build homes that they can afford. Build homes for the growing youth population who continue to struggle with these rates of rent that are thievery in every sense of the word.

We want to build a better Jamaica, but we are still building for those who already have their own prosperity. Consider the real, average man.