PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government says it will provide people who have been renting houses built by a state-owned agency for more than 30 years an opportunity to acquire these homes for TT$100 (One TT dollar =US$0.37 cents).
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, addressing the “Monday night Forum” of her ruling United National Congress (UNC) led coalition People’s Partnership government in Diego Martin, west of here said, that discussions would be held with the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) on the matter.
“We will work through the Ministry of Housing and the HDC that every person in an HDC house for over thirty years should you want it, we will give it to you for $100.
“Previously, you did not have a piece of paper to say this is mine. When you get your piece of paper now, this home will be your home,” she told supporters as the political campaigning continues for a general election that must be held by September 17 this year.
She told the meeting that as a young person she had experienced what it was like to be homeless.
“I know what it is like. I lived that horror of moving from pillar to post. I know what it is like to not have a piece of land to call your own. The amount of houses we moved from and to and from,” she said, adding that plans were also afoot to regularize 30,000 squatters along the east-west corridor.
“Should you give us a second term …I promise you we will regularize all the squatters and elsewhere. I will do it, I will keep my word,” she said, even as she warned that certain conditions would be applied.
“I am not talking about all those squatters who go running tomorrow to squat. It’s not Johnny-come-lately, land rush or land grab. You must have been there when that photograph was taken.” She also said it would be for citizens to partner to develop the nation.
“You will have to work hard so you could use your land as collateral and set up your own business. Should we get that second term you must agree to hold your hand up as partners for the development of Trinidad and Tobago. We must work hand in hand,” she added.
The main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) has been calling on Prime Minister Persad Bissessar to name the date for the general election and has announced plans for a demonstration on May 24 to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the 2010 victory of the coalition government.
The UNC, the biggest partner in the four-member coalition, last week announced that it would begin from Monday, accepting nominations for candidates to represent the party in the elections.