Ten single mothers enter their new Petro Casas

Ten single mothers in Grand Bay had their dreams of having their own homes realised when they were presented with brand new Petro Casas.

The houses were constructed through grant funds by The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

According to Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, this gesture is a clear manifestation of Government’s commitment to the housing revolution in Dominica.

He sees this initiative as government’s responsibility to citizens in need.

“The housing revolution that we started some years ago was criticized by some in society but this Labour Party realizes that it has a responsibility to provide improved housing for the less fortunate.  I get really, really offended when I hear people talk about the manner in which we have been helping poor people.  There is no reason why anybody should be jealous of a poor person getting help... there is no reason.  Outside of politics, we have a Christian responsibility as a society to look after the poor people... and that’s what we are doing.  You don’t have to vote for us because we gave you a house because we are doing the work that we are responsible to do, not only as a Government and a Party but as a people.  We have to be our brother’s keeper and that’s what the Labour Party has been.”

The sentiment that the Government of Dominica cares about its people was expressed by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Housing Hon. Ivor Stephenson.

“This is so because of our deliberate policy to promote and provide improved access to safe, healthy and affordable housing for all Dominicans as a major contributor to enhance social and economic development.  We firmly believe that shelter is a basic human need and that the health and wellbeing of both the individual and the community are directly linked to the shelter enjoyed by its residents.  Indeed a key indicator of the quality of life enjoyed by the citizens of any country can be measured by the number of families that are provided with adequate shelter.  The 2009 Country Poverty Assessment Report showed that poverty in Dominica had reduced and that is also testimony of our achievements in the housing sector. For the state of a country’s housing stock is directly related to levels of poverty.”

Hon. Stephenson gave a brief overview of the quality of the houses being donated.

“The Petro Casa technology is new to Dominica.  The technology involves the use of prefabricated panels made of PVC erected on a traditional type foundation with a prefabricated roof fastened to a metal frame.  The doors, windows and sanitary fixtures are all made from PVC material.  The prefabricated panels used as external and internal walls are filled with sand and cement concrete mix which provides structural stability to the unit.  I have been told that the features of the walls are their extraordinary strength, beautiful appearance, durability, resistance to elements and acoustics.  The internal temperature of the petro casa is also lower than the average temperature of a housing unit of traditional construction.”

A petro casa unit has an area of 745sq ft and consists of three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, two bathrooms and a porch.  Each unit is valued at about ninety thousand eastern Caribbean dollars (EC$90,000).

Parliamentary Representative for the Grand Bay Constituency, Hon. Justina Charles says that the housing revolution is the next level in housing in Dominica.

In addition to the recent ten constituents benefitting from the programme, several families across Dominica continue to receive assistance.

“The ten families can also boast of moving to that next level.  These are single parents to whom just a short time ago, owning a house seemed to be just a mere dream.  However, as a result of this government’s social programmes aimed at improving the lives of the citizens of this country, this dream has now become a reality.  From 2009, in addition to the ten houses now being commissioned, forty five other families have enjoyed improvements in their housing conditions totalling four hundred and thirty-nine thousand dollars ($439,000).  Some of these families received new houses while others were assisted with renovations.  We must therefore recognise the effort of the Hon. Prime Minister in securing funds from our friendly governments who continue to give to our national development agenda.”

One of the recipients emotionally expressed her gratitude.  She said, “I want to say to the Hon. Prime Minister that owning a house to me was a fantasy and it was beyond my ability to achieve this goal.  Never did I realise that on this 9th day of April 2013, my dream of owning a house would no longer be a fantasy but a reality.”

In his remarks at the handing over ceremony, H. E. Hayden Pirela Sanchez, Venezuelan Ambassador to Dominica, assured Dominicans that Venezuela will continue to assist Dominica.