Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 24th 2015 Contents A5
Friday, April 24, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
After 30-day notices to complete payments...
Hundreds of Housing Devel-
opment Corporation (HDC)
clients who are occupying
homes under the Lease to Own
(LTO) or Rent to Own (RTO)
programmes are being given
30-day notices to complete
payments on their homes or
face eviction, Movement for
Social Justice leader David
Abdulah said yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference
at the MSJ headquarters in San
Fernando, Abdulah said the
HDC was invoking a clause from
the clients original agreements
to deprive them of their homes.
"This, while it may be legal
according to the sale agreement,
is totally unjust, this is injustice.
It is going to lead to the dispos-
session of people s homes. The
MSJ is opposed to it. We say
this is wrong," Abdulah said.
He said the HDC had been
putting out ads to this effect in
the media but he said the MSJ
would stand by the homeowners
in the matter.
"You may have seen ads
appearing in the newspaper over
the last few days. The ads are
HDC ads so this is not some-
thing the MSJ is making up. We
are prepared to stand with
homeowners in solidarity on this
issue," he added.
The problem with the 30-day
ultimatum, Abdulah said, was
that it may force some home-
owners into the streets.
"Now that may have been in
the original agreement but quite
clearly people cannot be occu-
pying and paying rent very judi-
ciously from whenever they got
their leases, for six or more years,
then being told after six years
that you have 30 days to get a
mortage," he added.
In fact, he said, there were
many people who have RTO
agreements who were already
close to retirement age and could
not qualify for a mortage.
He added: "The person who
has been renting and is now in
their mid-50s and is told by the
financial institution they only
have about four years to pay off
their mortage, though the inter-
est may be low, the monthly
payment is going to be very high
because the timeframe to pay
off the mortage is very small.
"And the qualifying income
for the mortage is going to be
very high so persons, including
public servants, police officers,
teachers, will not qualify for the
mortage and if they don t qualify
for the mortage they can t pay
off the purchase price to the
HDC and therefore they ll be
out in the street, homeless."
Abdulah gave members of the
media a copy of one of the let-
ters he said was sent to a home-
owner but said the name and
address of the person were
blacked out so the person would
not face discrimination.
He said interested homeown-
ers could contact the MSJ at
657-0408 if they wanted rep-
MSJ takes on HDC
MSJ leader David Abdulah, right, displays an HDC ad during yesterday's press conference which asks customers to visit the HDC's head
office. Also on the table are Dr Roosevelt Williams, deputy political leader, left, and activist Reza Baptiste. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
Corporation managing director
Jearlean John yesterday accused
MSJ leader David Abdulah of
creating "political mischief" over
the matter yesterday.
"As far as I am concerned,
they misrepresented the facts
by presenting these letters the
way they did.
"There is no need for this
grand stand. It amounts to
nothing more than political
mischief. We don't want to kick
anyone out of their homes,"
She said the letters would
have been most likely sent out
to clients who ignored numerous
requests from the HDC to come
in and talk about getting a
mortage but added that the
HDC was in the process of
drafting another letter to send
"We don't have a name to
these letters but it would have
been sent to someone who
ignored continued requests to
come into the HDC and get
started on their mortage.
"But right now we are in the
process of drafting another
letter, one that cannot be
misunderstood so easily," she
She said clients whose
financial situation had changed
so much that they now could
not afford a mortage would
either have their licence to
occupy extended or a rental
agreement drawn up.
"Once they come to us, tell us
what is going on, we will make
other arrangements to either
extend the LTO or draw up a
rental agreement. We will not be
putting people out of their
houses," she added.
Since 2010, approximately 650 members of the
protective services have either bought properties
or are in a rental arrangement for properties from
the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).
Over the period 2010 to 2015, the available stock
of houses for distribution amounted to 6,000. This
means 10.8 per cent of all allocated houses over the
past five years were occupied by members of the
protective services, Housing Development Corporation
CEO Jearlean John said yesterday.
The HDC released the information yesterday in
the wake of statements by Fire Services Association
president, Leo Ramkissoon, that firefighters were
threatening to take action regarding the non-provision
of government housing to members.
Ramkissoon said fire officers had not been given
housing provision under the government policy of
ten per cent of all housing for several years, and called
on Minister of Housing Roodal Moonilal or the Prime
Minster Kamla Persad-Bissessar to intervene.
He said the Government statement that officers
had been in receipt of housing was totally untrue.
However, a list provided by the HDC yesterday
showed that of the 650 houses distributed to service
people over the past five years, fire officers received
33.The Police Service benefitted the most from the
policy, with 397 police officers receiving housing
allocations in the past five years. Coast Guard officers
received an allocation of 20 units, Defence Force
soldiers and officers received 100 and prisons officers
received an allocation of 100 units over the period.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development,
through the HDC, is guided by the Cabinet-approved
National Housing Allocation Policy 2008 (Cabinet
minute 2730 dated September 25, 2008).
This policy provides for a specific percentage
appropriation of housing stock within specific cat-
Protective services are defined as officers serving
within the police, fire, army, prison and coast guard
services, and coincides with the definition for "ser-
vicemen" as presented within the question.
Yesterday, John said that the corporation was
slightly over the margin allocated by Cabinet.
got 650 homes,
A PH taxidriver who stopped to drop off passen-
gers in Belmont was killed after a gunman fired
several shots at him last night.
The dead man was identified as Jason Williams Jr.
Williams Jr had just picked up three female pas-
sengers, including a child, in Port-of-Spain and was
on his way to drop them off when the incident
Police on duty at the St Martin s High School,
where construction is going on, were alerted after
hearing the gunshots. They later found Williams Jr
slumped behind the wheel, as the other passengers
rushed to get out of the car.
No one else was injured during the incident.
PH driver killed in Belmont
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