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Housing Minister vows to stop criminals

Published: 
Monday, December 11, 2017
Housing and Urban Development Minister, Randall Mitchell smiles with the Solomon family after they received the keys to their home during HDC keys distribution ceremony at Imani Hall, Omardeen’s School of Accountancy, Cipero Street, San Fernando on Saturday.

Housing Minister Randall Mitchell is calling on all Housing Development Corporation tenants to continue to report illegal activities in their communities.

This as criminals continue to terrorise bonafide HDC tenants in areas such as Clifton Towers, Orchid Gardens, Pleasantville and at Tarodale in Ste Madeleine.

Speaking at a key distribution function held at Omardeen’s auditorium in San Fernando on Saturday, Mitchell said HDC’s security unit will continue to conduct audits on the reports and direct them to the police.

Mitchell also said that gangs are continuing to terrorise HDC tenants saying if the UNC had supported the Anti-Gang legislation last Wednesday, the police would have been able to charge the gang members with more substantial offences. He noted that residents of Clifton Towers are continuing to face terror at the hands of gangs.

“We are also seeing a new practice where the criminal gang element is entering these developments and chasing out bonafide tenants using tactics of intimidation and violence.

“In the case of Clifton Towers the joint police and army effort would have evicted the illegal occupiers at least three occasions and they continue to return, which itself is indicative of a break down of law and order,” Mitchell said.

He added: “The HDC will continue to play its part in engaging the law enforcement agencies to ensure that this type of terror discontinues.

“I also call on all law-abiding citizens to report any possible illegal activity that you observe in your community so that action can be taken in a timely manner,” Mitchell said.

He also revealed that when the Government took office in September 2015 there were 1,200 vacant HDC units but by October 2017, the number had dropped to 200. Saying those units will be distributed by the end of the year, Mitchell said: “Vacant, unoccupied and vandalised units are very expensive liabilities on the books of the HDC.”

He also said that some HDC tenants are sub-letting their housing units, earning huge profits at the expense of persons desperately in need of affordable housing.

“This contravenes of our housing policy and directly breaches the terms and conditions of your Agreements.

“This injustice must stop and I will continue to work to ensure that this practice does stop under my tenure as Minister,” Mitchell warned.

He added the HDC will continue to stamp out illegal occupancy of houses.

“The occupation of vacant housing units without the permission of the HDC is unlawful and there is very little by way of mitigating circumstances that can justify such unlawful behaviour to the disadvantage of law-abiding citizens on the application list.

“The State cannot and will not encourage the reward or allow persons to benefit from illegal and unlawful behaviour. To do otherwise, the State would be contributing to the lawlessness we see in society today,” Mitchell explained.

He also said that the HDC will be cracking down on delinquent tenants saying: “The HDC can no longer afford to tolerate persons who are habitually delinquent with their financial obligations.”

On Friday, HDC residents of Orchid Gardens said they were terrified about ongoing criminal activities which led to the murder of 45-year-old Robert Carter of Arima who was gunned down outside Building C Tarodale residents have also complained of criminal activities in their communities.

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