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Ground Broken for EE Houses

Ground is broken for the construction of 12 houses under the NHDT Affordable Housing Project.

Ground breaking for the first phase of construction on 12 homes in East End took place this week (Monday, 1 March), as part of the National Housing Development Trust's (NHDT) Affordable Housing Project.

Participating in the John McLean Drive groundbreaking were Premier the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP; Housing Minister the Hon. Mike Adam, OBE, JP; MLA and Councillor in the Housing Ministry Ellio Solomon; East End MLA Arden McLean, Housing Chief Officer Dorine Whittaker; NHDT Chairman Steve McLaughlin; Managing Director Maxine Gibson and other NHDT board members.

Premier Bush said that the East End homes were a first step in a broader government plan to address local housing needs. Pointing out that there are more than 700 applications pending and only limited resources, he nonetheless reaffirmed his commitment to assist as many Caymanian families as possible in meeting this basic human need.

Providing details of the project, Minister Adam noted that the first phase will see construction of the site's infrastructure, including roads, utilities and sidewalks. He said that a contract was recently signed for this phase and work is expected to begin in the next couple of weeks and be completed within four months.

Explaining that a contractor has yet to be selected for the homes, he said that he was still confident that construction of the houses will be able to begin in April. He added that last December, the NHDT had invited licensed small contractors to pre-qualify for participation in the tendering process for the construction of the homes in East End and other districts.

"The pre-qualification process is still underway and so far we have pre-qualified about 17 companies.

"After the process is complete, we expect that the NHDT will invite tenders on the homes," Minister Adam disclosed.

Housing development is to take place in different districts across Grand Cayman and Mr. Adam explained that the next phase would be in West Bay.

In his turn, NHDT Chairman Steve McLaughlin said that as part of the Trust's cost-cutting measures and in order to enhance public accountability, the Board and the government have moved to strategically reposition the NHDT.

He pointed out that as work begins on the Affordable Housing Project, it is vital that operations are carefully handled to ensure that government receives value for money at the end of construction. He added that low-income Caymanians who need housing the most must be able to access it.

"The restructuring exercise has seen some operational and human resource changes. It was implemented only after careful consideration and came out of a firm belief that the Trust, as a government-owned entity, must be transparent, accountable and customer-oriented.

"While this is primarily geared towards assisting our clients in the long-term, our customers should start seeing improved service over the next several months," Mr. McLaughlin explained.

He noted that since being appointed six months ago, the NHDT's Board has worked diligently to get new homes started for families in need.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes