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HDC chairman on Rowley’s eviction statement: It’s an option not ultimatum
Chairman of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Jearlean John yesterday denied claims by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley the agency was evicting tenants from their homes. During a meeting at the Junior Sammy Group of Companies Skiffle panyard on Tuesday night, Rowley claimed HDC had issued letters to tenants calling on them to buy the properties they occupied.
He said if the tenants could not afford to buy the units, they would be forced to move. He described that as a “wicked and vindictive” act by the People’s Partnership Government. He added: “Old people who went into HDC houses on the basis of a rental or some kind of a false arrangement, because the PNM housing programme was called a false housing programme...you know what they doing now?
“They want to evict them from those units. These poor people with limited income who can afford rental, still have some food and some medication, look at these people now. “You know what the ministry is doing now? “They are telling them you have to buy the property and if you can't buy it, you get out. When you get out, somebody who can buy it, will get it.”
He asked: “Where are these people going to get money to pay $200,000 or $100,000 to $250,000 for a unit? Why is this Government so wicked and vindictive?” However, John explained that tenants who had received invitations to purchase were being given an option, not an ultimatum.
She said HDC clusters, such as apartment buildings and townhouses, were divided into rental and mortgage accommodations and the corporation was seeking to introduced a structured system where housing developments would either be for rental accommodations or mortgage arrangements.
John said the reason for that was to properly manage the maintenance of rental properties. Those who actually own the units were suppose to pay for their maintenance, she added. She said if they could not afford the purchase, they would be relocated rather than evicted. She said the HDC was the biggest landlord in the country and it was important to structure a system for proper management as it sought to uplift the standard of living of tenants.
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