The PPM administration and its
cohorts began tarnishing my character and reputation from 2003, with the
assistance of the past auditor general, yet the PPM did not build one single
affordable home in Grand Cayman.
Much bad continues to be said about
my handling of the affordable housing project but the good it may have brought
to hundreds of people especially after Hurricane Ivan is never mentioned, not
even by the UDP.
History will however be less
clouded with jealousy; and it is my contention that I will be remembered for
having brought a very important need of the disadvantaged among us to table.
Not by talking about their needs or by high jacking another man’s courage and
determination, but for being pragmatic about what is affordable for a large
segment of our population. As much as
the UDP spouts out rhetoric about affordability, it will be left to be seen if
their constructions, though more durable, will have the same cost benefits to
low income and poor people; as those engineered and built during my tenure as
minister of Housing.
My most expensive dwelling was sold
for below $70,000 and the least expensive for below $50,000. The most expensive
had two baths and three bedrooms. Persons were expected to pay about $700 per
month for the largest, much less than some pay to rent a one room dwelling in a
derelict part of George Town. Our concept was to have people housed near the
centres of commerce and not just placed anywhere; one reason we built across
from Cox Lumber on high value commercial land. Our idea was to build
communities, not just buildings and an essential part of any community is and
must be employment.
The PPM were glad to grab up my
mantle but it was much too big for them because in destroying me they had
relied upon propaganda, which would later prevent them from giving poor people
any form of housing that did not resemble an expensive resort. True, the poor
among us should be respected and assisted, but it is not enough to help one
poor person when we have thousands holding their hands out for equal treatment.
Thus I have always believed as I do now, that it was far better to reduce
quality for the sake of being democratic in apportioning housing benefits.
Housing is a hot potato and Mr.
Solomon and the UDP will now learn that they are damned it they do and damned
if they don’t; certainly it will not be nice if only a few persons get homes.
They will see that the votes of the have not gotten help with housing are
greater than, “we got a home thanks to the UDP”.
I knew from the outset that my
homes would only last perhaps 20 years; with the proper upkeep maybe longer, so
we hired a caretaker who hired others to maintain as best possible the
properties we had constructed. We knew that the owners would import social
challenges and the communities would become the breading groups for increase
social conflicts and malaises, so we assigned community workers to each housing
The National Housing and Community
Development Trust, which brought the long debate on housing for the poor to
reality, was renamed the National Housing Trust, expressing the lack of social
understanding amongst our leaders. And what of the amount of money that was
supposed to have been paid into an account to purchase goods in Mexico after
the hurricane, that was said to look like a payment which could facilitate a
bribe? The past auditor general came to the end of his rope before I have come
to mine, because I am still here in beautiful Grand Cayman enjoying the
sunshine and Smith Barcadere. I have forgiven him like I have had to forgive
others and others have had to forgive me, for we are only human. But I never
sold anything from the people of this county. The PPM and the UDP are both
happy they do not have to deal with me because I am unrepentantly sassy like my
cousin in East End. The UDP has now began to produce what they promised but it
must be in a democratic fashion; all who need should have an opportunity to own
and that is a hard act to stage.