The People’s United Party rolled out its plan for housing and infrastructure this morning. Presenting on the agenda were Area Representative Julius Espat who is an architect by profession as well as Area Representative Oscar Requena of Toledo West. For the housing project Espat explained that the house plans are done in phases with the starter homes being phase one of their proposed project. According to Espat the issue when it comes to home ownership not much thought is given to affordability and the need to customize the housing budget for the recipients.
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “This housing project as you have seen is based on phases realistic phases, a small phase but a module. In the rural community that module 12×26 is far more than what they have in fact they have nothing. The interview you’d seen is in Belama Phase 5 and you see the conditions in which they live and so housing is a human right, we have to find whatever it takes for people to have a decent house and that’s why – in the past where I’ve said we had failed both governments have failed by trying to build middle class homes for starter homes and then what happened is that people can’t afford the mortgage so they live in it for six months and they feel good and they cut the ribbon and they sit in there and when the bill comes to pay they can’t pay it then the bank comes in or the lending institution comes in and then they get taken out of it- that’s not what we ant. And I’ve seen it this is a personal experience I have seen in Latin America where the starter homes are important. You have a module where if you are single, not even single just married for example you have a started module that has the basic necessities the kitchen, an area where you can have your bedroom. In urban areas they call it studio apartments where everything is one and it works really well. And then as your family grows you have your first child and your income is increasing a bit then you can afford to put in the second phase but you already have a plan to allow you to do that. The idea of using vernacular material is something that we have to start using what we have in country. I was telling the party leader that white lime for example is a product of construction , is one of the materials that is used in the region but we don’t use it in Belize. If you notice in Belize everybody uses cement and water and plaster with it but white lime is here and we don’t use it to the level that we need to. White lime is awesome when you mix it with cement, it gives the cement a certain level of elasticity and therefore it allows the plaster to crack less.”
According to Area Representative Julius Espat in order for the PUP’s housing plan to successfully work it would need collaboration between government and the various communities.
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “If it is a low cost house, if it is a started home government’s contribution is essential we need to buy in bulk to be able to pass on that value to the home owner and the homeowner has to do their part by coming together in a little corporative and working the labor. It’s not a ridiculously complicated building to build, with proper supervision anybody can do it. I have proven that in the rural communities where we have with our team of supervisors we have trained people to do what is necessary because it’s not rocket science it just needs a little bit of supervision so people could know how to mix the concrete, what’s the spacing of the steel, how to cure the concrete, how to properly lay a block level, you understand me with proper supervision most people can do it and the beauty of having the participation of the general populace in the building of your home is that you take ownership. It is yours, you participated in it, nobody can take that away from your it gives you this pride and that is what I think is lacking in our country. We need to be proud of who we are, what we want and what we want to achieve and so I believe this is first step. It’s not magical it will need the participation of everybody including yourselves to be able to explain to people how it can work.”
We will have more on PUP presentation on housing and infrastructure later in this newscast.