BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: Govt reviewing housing structure for subdivisions after western development controversy

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: Govt reviewing housing structure for subdivisions after western development controversy
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis holds up a map showing an area to be used for housing developments in the future during debate in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Housing minister says no master plan was created for Prospect Ridge Development

Some promotional photos from development apparently taken from Google

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Transport and Housing Jobeth Coleby-Davis said on Wednesday that the government will restructure the policy of its housing programs in Carmichael and Prospect Ridge and will seek to build turnkey homes for Bahamians.

Minister of Transport and Housing Jobeth Coleby-Davis addresses members of the media during a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

Coleby-Davis, who was responding to questions during a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, said a technical team has met and done site visits to respond to the current demand of the western housing initiative launched under the Minnis administration.

“I think it will be easier for us to help get a better cost for the Bahamian public if we actually provide the homes turnkey,” she said.

She noted that development of the Prospect Ridge housing project may not be completed in the timeline promised by the former administration after “nothing” was done to create a master plan for the project.

The housing minister advised that in the Davis administration’s initial review, it was found that no feasibility study or typography study was done to provide the lay of the land for the project.

She further revealed that the company engaged by the former administration was awarded the contract just several days before the general election and “absolutely nothing has been done yet”.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Hubert Minnis presents on the government’s plan for a housing subdivision in the western district of New Providence on Monday, April 12, 2021. (BIS PHOTO/ULRIC WOODSIDE)

Coleby-Davis said while there were billboards and posters for the project erected around New Providence, it was unclear where those images came from.

Eyewitness News can confirm that some of the photos used in online flyers were stock photos taken from Google.

Coleby-Davis described the photo presented by former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis in Parliament as nothing more than a “sketch”.

The housing minister said as a result of the lack of planning, the government is unable to determine infrastructure costs, though it is expected to be high.

“We have a lot of groundwork to do and we want to do it right,” she said.

“We want to provide the right information to Cabinet and to the Bahamian people, to [see] if we can actually go forward with the project.

“…We are hoping and we are confident that we are able to do this development, but it may not be in the time that originally was provided because we want to make sure these studies are completed and we have enough information to determine cost and timing for the Bahamian public.”

Coleby-Davis added that her team has not been able to determine where the cited costs originated, because of the lack of work completed.

“I don’t know if that was a realistic picture of what the cost looks like. At the moment, we cannot commit to what was previously announced,” she said.

Those studies are expected to begin before the end of the New Year.

Viana Gardiner, former chief operations officer in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit

Responding to the claims in a press release on Wednesday night, Viana Gardiner, former chief operations officer in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit who chaired the Committee for the Development of Communities for Young Professionals, rejected the comments, insisting that a “strong foundation” was left to build on and contending that the project can be completed in a timely manner.

Coleby-Davis said yesterday that in order for the government to begin calling back applicants and advising them of their approval, the cost of the project must be determined first.

“I don’t want anyone to lose confidence, but I want them to know when I provide information to them it is correct and I’ve done my research and the amount I give them will be a sure amount that they will become homeowners…Don’t lose confidence it may just be a little more time added.”

She added that her priority is to ensure as many Bahamians can become homeowners.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan has spent the past four years as a lead news writer immersed in the field, covering a range of investigative breaking news developments. She produces daily salient pieces on natural disasters, crime, politics, policy, human-interest, and socioeconomic realities.

1 comments

I just hope there is a great scrutiny of the contractors who will build the homes We can’t afford shoddy work by unqualified and dishonest persons.

Comments are closed.