Minister McCartney Speaks to Importance of Homeowner Protection

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By Clunis Devaney

NASSAU, Bahamas –
The practice by unscrupulous building contractors preying on unsuspecting single mothers must stop, Minister of State for Tourism and Aviation the Hon. Branville McCartney said in the House of Assembly Wednesday.

He told parliamentarians that, “we have a duty in this place to ensure that it stops. I have been informed that the Bahamas Contractors Association (BCA) has drafted proposals for legislation in this regard.”

Minister McCartney’s comments came as debate continued on a resolution to convey land to the Minister of Housing for Government housing. This conveyance will also enable homeowners to acquire title for their land.

According to the Minister, suggestions were made by the BCA in relation to a proposed Contractors Bill, which seeks to deal with:

• Issuance of licences
• Revocation of licences
• Insurance
• Fines
• Imprisonment

“This is a step in the right direction and I anticipate that this administration will fix it,” said Minister McCartney.

The Minister underscored that the problem is a vexing one, and is not aimed at Government housing programmes, but also through private contracts.

“The problem is with uncontrolled contractors who do shoddy work and the unsuspecting home owners are left holding the bag,” said Minister McCartney, who represents the Bamboo Town constituency.

“I say uncontrolled,” he added, “because today, anybody can be a contractor. And this is what has happened. I might add that there are some unscrupulous contractors who prey on unsuspecting single mothers who would have entrusted the building of their dream home along with their life savings to these contractors.

“I have no doubt the majority of us in this place know what I am talking about. It must stop, Mr. Speaker.”

Minister McCartney emphasized that the basic needs of families include food and shelter and that “our actions in this place should never place anyone of these two components in jeopardy.”

He reminded House members that good housing is about more than blocks and mortar.

“One must have good title to the land the house is on,” the Minister stated. “The area where you live is also fundamental to one’s experience of home. It affects your quality of life, access to education, health care, and other public service and your life chances.

“This caring Government’s vision of ensuring decent housing for all citizens means paying attention to the importance of neighbourhood, community, ensuring that home owners get value for money and that walls are not cracking, plumbing works, roofs do not leak and, most importantly, that home purchasers actually have good title.”