Housing and Urban Development Minister Pennelope Beckles turned the sod on Friday for Phase I of the Petrotrin Residential Lots Programme at the Glenroy II site, in Princes Town.
The programme, launched in 2020 for former employees of Petrotrin who were terminated in November 2018, following the closure of the refinery, provides serviceable lots of approximately 5,000 square feet for a lease period of 199 years, with all of the required infrastructure, lotification and statutory approvals free of charge.
The Land Settlement Agency (LSA) will be responsible for developing the lots through the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) and the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) while the Commissioner of State Lands will be responsible for issuing the lease titles for the land.
In keeping with the Ministry’s Aided Self-Help Housing model, pre-approved house plans, technical assistance and oversight for the construction of the houses would be provided by the LSA, while subsidized loans can be accessed through the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company (TTMF) for eligible applicants requiring mortgage facilities for home construction.
Applications, which have been received from eligible, former employees for the lots, have been entered into the Ministry’s database and will be selected when each of the nine sites currently earmarked for the programme is ready for distribution, using the Ministry’s random selection draw process.
Beckles said that “the Government is committed to working in the best interests of all citizens, and as such is doing all it can to cushion the effects of the fallout incurred from the Petrotrin closure, ever mindful that access to these residential lots can be a real game-changer in improving the socio-economic prospects of these ex-employees.”
She added that “by enabling our citizens a pathway to property ownership, we are not just meeting a family’s need for safe and secure shelter and the ability to earn a living through agricultural pursuits, but we are also providing a tangible opportunity that will change their lives forever.”