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No million-dollar houses built under my watch

Published: 
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Rabindra Moonan:

Former Housing Development Corporation (HDC) chairman Rabindra Moonan yesterday said there were never any multi-million dollar government-sudsidised houses built under his watch at the state company.

Moonan is contradicting Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who yesterday said that one HDC spot was being offered to applicants at $4 million.

“HDC did not construct any homes in that range during my time, indeed during the 2010 to 2015 timeframe,” Moonan said.

When asked if the Victoria Keys development offered houses with a multi-million dollar price tag, Moonan distanced himself from that project.

“Victoria Keys started under the PNM (People’s National Movement) but it was so badly done. We realised it would be cheaper to renovate it and offer it to middle-class applicants. But up until the time I demitted office, we had not finalised a price on those units,” Moonan said.

It was Moonan, as HDC chairman, who raised the qualifying applicant salary from $25,000 to $45,000.

“The HDC Act provides for low and middle income earners, so the joint salary of some applicants would have been at the upper limit. In this day and age, it is not unheard of to have a joint salary of $45,000,” Moonan said. Moonan said when HDC increased the qualifying limit, it widened the catchment of people able to access public housing.

“But that did not mean that people on the lower income level stopped being able to access state housing,” he said.

Moonan said this move by the PNM showed that they were “living in the past.”

“The Government has left out and are victimising the middle class and those young married professionals who dream of owning a home,” he said.

Moonan served as chairman under former housing minister Dr Roodal Moonilal.