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Moonilal to Rowley: Leave housing business to HDC
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley should keep his eyes on his parliamentary colleagues who “flung the sink at him” last Friday, instead of Housing Development Corporation (HDC) business. Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal offered that advice on Tuesday in response to Rowley’s claim that housing units at Victoria Keyes, Diego Martin, were being reconfigured for “investors” rather than applicants on HDC’s data base. Rowley made the accusation at a news conference at his Port-of-Spain office on Monday, when he produced photos of the units.
However HDC’s managing director Jearlean John said the units were being reconfigured to make them more comfortable for young professionals. The houses were built under the People National Movement government. In a telephone interview Moonilal said: “I was shocked that Dr Rowley has so much time to be inspecting the HDC houses’ kitchen sinks and toilet bowls and this was probably the reason why last Friday his colleagues in Parliament flung the sink at him.” Moonilal was referring to a defeated motion which was brought by former prime minister Patrick Manning in the House on Friday.
The motion sought to have Manning’s attorney “address and examine witnesses before the Privileges Committee”. All 27 Government MPs voted against the motion, with five PNM MPs abstaining and four voting in favour. Many saw the outcome as a sign of deep division. Moonilal said while he did not involve himself in the day-to-day affairs of the HDC, the corporation had received several complaints from recipients and applicants about the poor quality of installations and poor quality of work at the housing units. As a result there was a concerted effort to upgrade the quality of those units, he said.
“On our database there is a significant amount of young professionals, public officers, police officers, nurses and media workers who require, not only affordable, but decent housing and we are trying to meet that requirement,” he said. “I am very concerned that Dr Rowley has moved from a teacup to the kitchen sink and other utensils. He would be better advised to keep his eyes on his colleagues in Parliament and leave the HDC business to the HDC,” Moonilal said.
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