With more than $5 million worth of building materials flowing into the state recently, the government is now being bombarded with requests from citizens, who say they need materials to do work on their homes.
However, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves revealed some “unreasonable demands” made by the government for building materials.
Speaking on NBC Radio on Wednesday, November 16, Gonsalves said the government has already begun distributing some of these materials, while others are being used in rebuilding homes that were damaged by explosive volcanic eruptions in April 2021.
He said, however, that some people try to take advantage of the free material and ask for very large sums.
“Because we are so generous, this government, you cannot send a list of materials that amounts to building you an entire house,” he remarked.
“How could someone send a list of materials that would amount to sixty thousand dollars?” wondered the Prime Minister.
He said other requests were sent for materials amounting to forty and fifty thousand dollars as well.
Explaining that these demands are “unreasonable”, Gonsalves clarified that “the government cannot build free houses for everyone”.
Building materials were imported from Tankweld Ltd in Jamaica to rebuild and repair houses that were destroyed or damaged due to the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano.
The Prime Minister made it clear on Wednesday that the focus was on communities in the red and orange zones for the distribution of building materials.
He said requests from other regions will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis “But you have to give us a chance to sort this out, for our brothers and sisters in the North East and North West.”
The Prime Minister expressed the view that some people have not yet fully understood the seriousness of the damage and devastation caused by the eruptions.
However, he gave the assurance that people in need, and located outside the red and orange zones, will also be assisted with building materials.
“When we have overcome this hump, we can resume the generalized program”, he assured.
Some 27 homes in Orange Hill have already been handed over to families displaced by the eruptions.
21 additional houses are currently being built in Orange Hill to accommodate more displaced families.
Apart from the families who have been displaced, the government is also carrying out repairs in the red and orange zones, on houses which suffered various levels of damage, assessed at (level one, two or three) in April last year.