Central Westmoreland MP wants private sector help for housing
Dwayne Vaz, member of parliament (MP) for Central Westmoreland, is calling on the private sector and other stakeholders in the western parish to help provide homes for needy residents in his constituency.
"We are asking the private sector to come on board and let us improve the lives of our residents in central Westmoreland," said Vaz, who handed over two houses valued at $600,000 to constituents in Cornwall Mountain and in Williamsfield.
"When you think of what we get per constituency for housing, the automatic figure is $1 million per year. If we should use that fund to build these houses, I don't think we would be able to build more than three houses for the year."
"Housing is a critical need. We need more persons on board to assist with this venture so we can reach the stage where we can probably build 10 houses a year. Central Westmoreland is a large constituency with five divisions, so that alone would tell you the demand we face."
The handing over of the houses was done as part of the constituency's housing assistance programme, which includes provision of materials for home repairs.
According to Vaz, many of central Westmoreland's less fortunate residents cannot access housing aid from organisations such as Food for the Poor because they do not own the land on which they reside.
"One of the major requirements of Food for the Poor, which provides this service, is for you to own the land before they will come and build that house," said Vaz. "Because of the lack of ownership of land, most persons built wooden structures in the past, so, therefore, you have a lot of wooden structures, which naturally deteriorate faster."
Seventy-eight-year-old Jeremiah McFarlane, one of the two recipients, was overjoyed that he can now go to bed at nights in a comfortable house, which is something he has been yearning for over many years.
"I lived in this old house which my parents died and left for me, and I was unable to fix it. We had our MPs, Karl Blythe and Roger Clarke, and I begged them to look at the conditions of the house, and nothing was done," said McFarlane, in thanking Vaz for coming to his assistance.