Government secures additional funds for its 500 house in 500 days initiative

Government secures additional funds for its 500 house in 500 days initiative

Government secures additional funds for its 500 house in 500 days initiative

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said his government has secured in excess of over $25 million to commence construction of its flagship 500 homes in 500 days initiative.

They have also commenced land development in Villa and other areas.

Efforts, he said, are also underway to secure addition funding.

“We have approached the government of Mexico for a loan of US$40 million and a grant of US$5 million and already they have agreed in principle. In fact, they will have a group of technicians here within 14 days,” Browne told state media yesterday.

He said one of the problems government has encountered, though, is that “most of the suburban lands were transferred to Bau Panel” for that company’s joint partnership with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHAPA).

The prime minister said government has since resorted to purchasing lands from other sources.

“We have resort to buying lands from Social Security, from the Martin family and that will take some time, plus the land development as well. So I don’t want anyone to think we will not proceed with this programme, we will,” Browne said.

Meantime, the prime minister is expected to meet next week with the management of Bau Panel System.

Browne said a meeting is scheduled for August 24 in New York.

“I will be stopping in New York to meeting with him (one of the agents of Bau Panel) in order to discuss an amicable way out of it, with the understanding that whatever decision we take will be in the best interest of the people of this country,” the PM said.

He said government would wishes to have the lands available, so that they can re-introduce a land for youth programme.

The Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party administration had placed a caution on the multimillion dollar housing project pending the outcome of an investigation.

The ABLP questioned the legality of the joint venture agreement between the Central Housing and Planning Authority – CHAPA – and the private firm Bau Panel.

The joint venture was formed during the tenure of the former UPP administration and is intended to build 5000 affordable houses – for which hundreds have already been approved.

Under the agreement, land was allocated to the project management company CHAPA-Bau Panel, including 37 acres in Jolly Hill.

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