Land Settlement Agency HVIP Key Distribution – Sangre Grande
Feature Address by
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, MP
Minister of Housing and Urban Development
Sangre Grande Civic Centre
Sukhram Street, Foster Road, Sangre Grande
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Mr. Anil Juteram, Chairman, of the Sangre Grande Regional
The Honourable Adrian Leonce, Minister in the Ministry of Housing
and Urban Development
The Honourable Roger Monroe, Member of Parliament for Toco
Ms. Nirmala Ramlogan, Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Ministry of
Housing and Urban Development
Ms. Bhanmatie Seecharan – Acting Commissioner of State Lands,
Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries
Mr. Noel Garcia, Chairman, Housing Development Corporation
Ms. Jayselle Mc Farlane, Managing Director,
Housing Development Corporation
Mr. Hazar Hosein, Chief Executive Officer, Land Settlement Agency
Mr. Paul Mugolas, Councillor, Electoral District of Sangre Grande
Mrs. Danielle Piper, Alderman in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation
Heads of Department of the Ministry of Housing and the Land Settlement
Housing and Village Improvement Programme Beneficiaries
Members of the Media
Other Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us here in Sangre Grande, one of the fastest-growing towns in Trinidad and Tobago and of course the largest town in North East Trinidad.
Today, it is indeed my pleasure to hand over the keys to twenty-five families, to their newly constructed starter home units. You the beneficiaries here today successfully met the criteria established for the regularization of squatting settlements in Trinidad and Tobago, as per the State Land (Regularisation of Tenure) Act No. 25 of 1998. Enacted by your Government, this Act has made and continues to make a significant difference for scores of families, and it’s about to help many, many more.
These 25 starter homes were constructed across the Toco/Sangre Grande area at a cost of $145,000 per unit. In total, that is $3.6 million your Government has invested in you. We do it not only because it trickles down and stimulates the local economy. We do it because, as a responsible and caring government, we stay true to our Vision 2030 promise: We put people first, nurturing our greatest asset, on this occasion, by ensuring that citizens meet the Regularization process with humanity and favour.
The ceremony today gives us a chance to take stock of our achievements in protecting society’s most vulnerable members. It also encourages us to renew our commitment and step up our efforts to ensure that every family in Trinidad and Tobago has a genuine opportunity to access affordable and decent housing, as envisioned in the National Development Strategy, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
The well-being of families is at the heart of what we do as Ministers and as Members of Parliament. It’s at the heart of what we do as your Government. It’s at the heart of what we are doing here in Sangre Grande.
As promised, at the last key distribution ceremony, we are marching forward with those 145 projects one village at a time, delivering units as they become available. We do this because we want you to enjoy affordable housing and decent shelter, as soon as possible, as soon as the units are ready for your input. That’s why, earlier this month, 12 families in Wallerfield received starter homes, 25 will do the same right here, this afternoon, in Sangre Grande, and, of course, we are going to be delivering to many, many more over the coming weeks and months ahead.
All over the walls of the Land Settlement Agency, you will see reminders that squatting is illegal, but as a compassionate administration, we are intent on making the regularization experience a touch of the caring hand of your Government. Our goal is to enhance rather than worsen the lives of those who are most at risk in our society. Today’s ceremony is a brilliant example of how your government does precisely that. Our deliberate aim is to enhance basic housing availability for those who need it the most.
This means that although the law provides for harsh penalties, as a caring government, through the Land Settlement Agency, we evaluate the situation holistically, and follow up by taking compassionate action that favours our citizenry. We look at what we can accomplish together and today is a clear demonstration that together we can up-lift 25 families from all across this eastern part of Trinidad. It is a win-win situation for all.
In order to build a nation and run a country, a government must successfully address the socioeconomic needs of its people. What this means is that, as we are committed to improving the lives of all of our citizens, we must raise their standards of living and where necessary, give them a solid start.
You will be getting 30 years to pay 40% of the market value of the land you occupy under the Statutory Lease. Following this, you will receive your Deed of Lease. The Deed of Lease for 199 years is the final step in the Regularization process but it is the first step in creating generational wealth for your children and grandchildren, as you will be able to pass the property on from generation to generation.
Today will be a life memory for you. It will be too for us at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. Over the past 7 years, this Administration, led by the Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, has done incredible work to ensure opportunity for all Trinidadians and Tobagonians. I could not be prouder to be a part of the team that implemented good policy ideas.
Policy ideas that lead to ceremonies like the one we are having today, where we do not just provide you with starter homes but we create a path for you to benefit from all the State has to offer. We are doing all of this under the Housing and Village Improvement programme, which means that you are harnessing the power of the community to expand opportunity for you and for tradesmen and women and for small businesses, right here in east Trinidad. I have no doubt we are greater together than we are on our own.
I know you may not follow the constant back-and-forth of Parliament or all the policy details, but today you are experiencing the law in a very personal way. I want you to spend some time thinking about that today. I want you to reflect on how many people wish they could be in your shoes today, to get the start you are getting.
To have moments like today is what drives almost everything I do in this office. This is where we see the law having real, practical implications to benefit citizens of this great land. When irregular structures give way to solid concrete homes – like your starter homes – that could stand up to natural disasters – hurricanes and earthquakes – because they are built in adherence to building codes, we know we are on the right path. We are on the path to progress. We are on the path set out in Vision 2030.
As such, I continue to be optimistic about your future. If we refocus our efforts on creating a society that works for everyone, Trinidad and Tobago will be even greater.
Thank you, everyone. May God bless you all and have a safe and enjoyable day.