By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government’s ongoing service lot scheme has rescued Bahamians from “raw” deals, according to Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira, who this week revealed nearly all of the lots offered to date have been sold.
Mr Ferreira, who was responding to questions on the sidelines of a recent loan signing ceremony, suggested that under the former Christie administration, Bahamians were in many cases being overcharged between $20,000 to $40,000.
“What we found, under the previous administration... was that the houses were being sold for much, much more than they were actually being valued. So if you really think about it, the Bahamian citizens were getting a raw deal. In other words, houses valued at. . .$140,000, $150,000, were being sold for $170,000, $180,000.
“So, I mean, how was that to the benefit of the people? It begs the question that whoever is benefitting from that the most is perhaps the one that is crying the most at the loss of that benefit,” Mr Ferreira said.
Mr Ferreira first hinted at the overpricing of homes under the Christie administration back in January, when during a parliamentary presentation he raised issue with the price tags placed on homes constructed in the Ardastra Gardens Subdivision.
He noted that when the Minnis administration took office, officials found the price of these single-family homes was inflated by between $13,980 and $18,650.
Arawak Homes, which subcontracted the building project to an estimated 30 to 40 contractors, managed the overall process. The cost per unit was $150,00 to $160,000, officials said back in 2016.
This served as motivation, Mr Ferreira said, for the government’s decision to discontinue offering turnkey homes, but instead serviced lots.
Doubling down on that decision this week, the Marathon MP highlighted various lot developments across New Providence and Abaco the latter of which includes the conveyance of disputed lot titles in the Crossing Rocks community.
“The government is not taking a backseat and we are not apologising to anyone for having an aggressive approach to putting people in homes and making them landowners,” Mr Ferreira said.
“The government serviced lots initiative is moving very, very well. We have completed, actually, the Lionel Davis Subdivision, which is in Romer Street, Fox Hill, which adds some more to the inventory; up next is the big one, Carmichael Village, which everyone is excited about.
“We’ve reconfigured the subdivision as I’ve mentioned many, many times, so we can get much, much more lots.
“We have engaged persons to do the engineering designs, which will layout the subdivision, do the topographies, so we are moving forward aggressively.
“… As I mentioned in Central Pines, Abaco, the lots are coming on stream; there will be 30, they’re coming on stream, we are receiving applications for those as well,” he added.
The government’s various initiatives under Mr Ferreira, seek to provide 360 lots in its first phase.