By Clunis Devaney
NASSAU, Bahamas – The failure of the former administration to convey land to the Ministry of Housing has caused many Bahamians to be unable to move into affordable homes in Pride Subdivision, Minister of State for Legal Affairs, the Hon. Desmond Bannister said Wednesday.
The Minister pointed out that houses in this subdivision remain unoccupied.
His comments came as debate continued on resolutions vesting land in the Perpall Tract Subdivision and Pride Estates to the Minister of Housing.
Minister Bannister explained that the purpose of the resolutions is to convey land to the Minister of Housing who can then convey lots to homeowners so that they can acquire title for these properties.
This is required, he noted, because under the previous administration, the land was divided into lots and houses were built on those lots.
“Currently, I understand that those houses are vacant and the people cannot move into those houses,” said Minister Bannister. “The reality is that the houses are empty and we have brought the resolutions to Parliament so we can put roofs over people’s heads.
“Under the former administration, the Minister of Housing would, I’m sure, have wished to have conveyed lots in those subdivisions to a number of Bahamians. Those people would generally fall into the category of persons whom the Government – former Government and this Government – would wish to assist in improving their lives and who, in other circumstances, would not ordinarily be able to afford to acquire homes for themselves.”
Minister Bannister said that by failing to convey the land to the Minister of Housing “the former administration has caused problems for everyone involved.”
He emphasized that Members of Parliament owe it to the people affected to explain the delay in having the houses occupied.
“Secondly, the Minister of Housing cannot convey the land to the people that he would wish to have it conveyed to,” Minister Bannister stated. “The houses are built but he cannot put the people in them.”
Minister Bannister chided the former administration for not bringing the resolution to Parliament.
“That is regrettable because we as a Parliament have to fix it; whatever the situation is that we met, we have to fix it,” said the Minister.
He told House members that “we have a moral responsibility to provide affordable housing for Bahamians and, in doing so we must ensure that the buildings are structurally sound and that we comply with the law.
“These resolutions ensure that as we comply with our moral responsibility we are also living up to our legal responsibility. When I speak about ‘we’, I speak about this Parliament. This is a Parliament of The Bahamas and whatever we do here today will go down in history as an act of this Parliament,” Minister Bannister stated.