Barbados-Guyana partnership to provide 1 000 houses

By this time next year, an additional 1 000 homes will be on the local market from a partnership between the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and Guyanese manufacturer Dura Villa.

According to Minister of Housing and Lands Dwight Sutherland, construction could begin as early as August this year.

He said the key players in the project met on Monday to fast track plans for the project which will provide modern houses, valued at $100 000, for mainly low-income earners.

“We will come up with a plan as to where we will place the first 1 000 Dura Villa/NHC homes in this country. These homes will be going in urban Barbados, rural Barbados, across the length and breadth of Barbados, and we are targeting 1 000 homes within the next 12 months.

“Let’s factor in shipping time for the houses, we are looking at shipping roughly about 30 a month and we can ramp up. We are looking that by August we should have these homes going up across Barbados…. once Mr Khan put together the order from us, we should have some homes going up by August, worst case September,” Sutherland told reporters at last weekend’s Agrofest in Queens Park where a show house was on display.

Scores of Barbadians viewed the 600 square-foot, two-bedroom show home, which had photovoltaic panels on the roof.

Sutherland assured that local companies would not be sidelined in the project.

“We are utilising local building material – the roofing, that is local Permaclad, concrete board, we are using Fiberpol to install our sinks. We want to thank UNICOMER for the display, and BNOC [Barbados National Oil Company] came and they installed the photovoltaic panels. Most of the other materials will be locally made and we will utilise locals to fully outfit,” the Housing Minister said.

CEO of DuraVilla Homes Rafiq Khan said he was overwhelmed by the response to the homes from day 1 of Agrofest.

He recalled that during Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s recent trip to Georgetown, she had challenged him to bring the house to Barbados, and the collaboration with the NHC had made that possible.

Khan, who said it was a first for his company, noted that they had benefited significantly from the skills of local artisans.

“And in doing this home, we transferred skills. Our Guyanese that participated in helping to direct the home learnt some techniques from you folks here in Barbados – how to do finishings, how to do pickling, how to take our woods and make it even more beautiful – so it has been an outstanding opportunity.”

The Guyanese manufacturer said the houses demonstrated affordability meeting luxury, insisting that low-income housing did not have to be inferior.

“Not because it is an affordable home it has to be not appealing, it has to be uncomfortable. We want that what ever bracket of house you are in – a starter home, a working-class professional or someone who wants to retire – this home should be comfortable, affordable and appealing for all,” he said.

Khan added that the house was built to withstand hurricanes, as insisted by Prime Minister Mottley, and noted that it has hurricane straps, and tight beams, and was engineered for strength and durability.

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