Christie Government speeds up its assistance to the poor –

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Urban Renewal launches Bahamas Small Home Repair Program

Renward Wells, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development speaks at the launch of the Small Home Repair Program at St. Agnes Church Hall on Cockburn Street on Thursday, November 14. Pictured at the table from right is Co-chair of the Urban Renewal Commission Cynthia "Mother" Pratt, Co-chair Algernon Allen and Gregory Butler, Deputy Director .

Nassau, Bahamas – Almost 300 contractors will receive contracts to repair thousands of homes in the “urban” areas of New Providence including Bain Town, Englerston, Grants Town, Ann’s Town and Montell Heights as part of the Government’s Small Home Repair program.

The Urban Renewal Commission launched the “Small Home Repair Program” during a meeting Thursday, November 15 at St. Agnes Church Hall, Cockburn Street.

In attendance were Diana Lightbourne, Permanent Sercretary in the Urban Renewal Commission; Gregory Butler, Deputy Director; Superintendent Stephen Dean, Coordinator and Francina Horton, Financial Controller.

Renward Wells, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development said the program is a major social intervention for the homeowners and the contractors.

The Parliamentary Secretary told the contractors that they will not be receiving handouts. “It is about many hands, your hands, the Urban Renewal Commissions hands lifting up our people out of the situation in which they find themselves.”

“Your signature will be affixed to that work. The quality of your work may put you in line to be considered by the Ministry of Works and this government; an opportunity for larger Government contracts,” he said.

He urged the contractors to respect the dignity of the homeowners.

Co-chair Cynthia “Mother” Pratt said, “It’s been a long time since some of you have had a job. Things have been rough. We are hoping that we are able to help everybody. If you leave here today and something does not happen we hope it will happen soon.”

Co-Chair Algernon Allen described the program as the most “significant” and most “substantial” Small Home Repair Program in the history of The Bahamas. He said the end result will be a transformation in the communities and uplifting not only of the homes, but of the spirits of the residents in the area.

“Urban renewal is not only about the repair of homes, not only the transformation of living spaces, it is also about the transformation of individuals, the uplifting of persons who live not only in the urban area but also of persons who live throughout the nation, said Mr. Allen.

“We expect value for money. We are dealing with many of the homes of those of us who do not have as much as others in our country and we want you to feel a sense of responsibility that if we cheat them we cheat ourselves because they are our brothers and our sisters. We don’t want any shady work or cutting corners because you will be paid for the work you are doing.”

Contracts will be issued next week. The program will be administered through the Urban Renewal 2.0 Commission. The repairs will be monitored by CCMG Limited.