The Unity Labour Party Manifesto 2015
Table of Contents
The ULP government has worked hard to put roofs over people’s heads and reaffirm gloriously, in deed, our sincerely-held belief that access to affordable housing and building lots constitute a basic human right. Our housing policy has been made manifest through several initiatives: The Low-Income, Middle-Income, and No-Income Housing Programme; the Lives-to-Live Housing Programme; the Housing Materials’ Distribution Programme; the 100-percent mortgage programme for public servants; the provision of additional tax concessions to private sector builders of housing estates; the revamping of the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) to better implement our housing policy; the cleaning-up of the mess which the NDP left at Gibson Corner and Diamond (Colonial Homes); the facilitation of the secondary mortgage market; the structured development of Informal Human Settlements; the elaboration into law of a sensible building code; the strengthening and expedition of the process for approval of building plans by the Physical Planning Department; the facilitation of the rescue of the SVG Building and Loan Association; the strengthening of the indigenous banking sector and the practical on-going support to credit unions.
Accompanying our housing policy has been the allied policy of “turning dead property into live property” through several means: The enactment and operationalisation of the Possessory Titles Bill which has been delivering cast iron land titles to those who have been in “adverse possession” of land for 12 or more years; the selling of State lands to people for as low as 10-cents per square foot; the refunding of excess monies paid by purchasers of State owned lands; the significant reduction of interest on arrears’ payments for State-owned lands from 8 percent to 3 percent and for a maximum of 5 years’ interest payments; the strengthening of the Lands and Surveys Department; the computerisation of the Lands Registry for much easier title searches and land registration; and the establishment of National Properties to facilitate real estate commercial development on certain State-owned lands.
During the tenure of the ULP administration, over EC $500 million in value has been added directly through our housing and lands policy. This is an impressive achievement; our ULP Housing and Lands Policy is hailed as a best practice in the Caribbean.
In our fourth term, the ULP government will expand, deepen and accelerate its work in the area of Housing, Lands, Land Surveying and Physical Planning. We will complete fully the Green Hill and Clare Valley Housing Settlements; develop further in an orderly manner the Informal Human Settlements and build others; develop and facilitate the provision of locally-sourced building materials; keep import duties at modest levels for imported building materials particularly from CARICOM; facilitate further the NIS and GECCU in their multi-million partnership to develop nearly 60 acres of land at Peter’s Hope for middle-income housing development; continue all the existing programmes of the HLDC and the Ministry of Housing and Lands, including the distribution of building materials to the poor and needy; implement fully the National Lands Policy; train more technical persons in every aspect of housing and land development; strengthen further the institutional capacity of HLDC, Physical Planning Department, Ministry of Housing, Surveys Department, and National Properties to better deliver their functions; and work ever more assiduously with the commercial and other banks, credit unions, Building and Loan Association, the regional Home Mortgage Bank, and the private sector in the provision of better and more housing at competitive prices.
Never in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has there been such a successful policy for housing and lands! The ULP will continue its excellent work in this regard!