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Immediate mitigation work begins on Clare Valley houses

Immediate mitigation work begins on Clare Valley houses

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One engineer and three contractors are already on site and have begun immediate mitigation work on houses in the Clare Valley housing development.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in his capacity as the Minister of Transport and Works, spoke to the issue earlier this week{{more}} during a press conference.

“There is an independent engineer who has been selected; Mr Dexter Gellizeau and three contractors, I have been advised are selected,” said Gonsalves, who recently returned from Cuba, where he was treated for a muscle injury.

“I want to say that as you know, in my absence, the Cabinet had taken the decision to have BRAGSA (Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority) do the actual supervision of the remedial works which are to be done. Of course Housing and Land is still involved.”

The Prime Minister indicated that he has been in conversation with the chief engineer, Brent Bailey, who has provided a report of the situation with regard to the housing development.

According to a document prepared by Bailey, Gonsalves revealed that the immediate mitigation work which is necessary for the protection of the remaining properties include the demolition of the collapsed house and the septic tank system, excavation and removal of all landslip material, construction of a retaining wall, construction of a drainage system and the construction of a soakaway system.

“Brent Bailey outlined to me that he [is] working with the engineer in question and other persons on his staff on the comprehensive programme for the appropriate corrective measures and I think that what is clearly evident in this matter is that the Government swiftly accepted responsibility and said we would do the remedial works. Transparency was on display. They had a town hall meeting down there. It was broadcast live and everybody had their say. You notice the responsible and responsive manner in which we are addressing this project,” Gonsalves said.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister observed that since the Unity Labour Party government was elected to office, approximately 1,200 houses were built, including houses in housing programmes and houses for persons who had their homes destroyed in natural disasters.

“If out of the 1,200, you have 2,3,5,7,10,15 houses which for one reason or the other you may say were inadequately constructed, that is 2,3,5,12,15 houses too many which were inadequately constructed, but that does not undermine the efficacy and the viability of the housing programme by the Government. I want that fact to be known. I want that to be appreciated,” he said.

“We consider housing to be affordable, good quality housing, to be a human right. I want everybody to know this and appreciate this. The state has an activist role to play in the realization of that human right for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Gonsalves also expressed appreciation for the understanding and patience exercised by the Clare Valley residents and assured that issues that are being observed by houses in the area will be addressed.

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