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Regional Housing Ministers Call for Funds to Assist Climate Change Victims 🌎🏠

Housing Minister Richard Frederick
Housing Minister Richard Frederick

Housing Ministers from the region, along with representatives from Latin and South America, met recently to advocate for quicker procedures to provide funds to assist persons hampered by the ravages of climate change.

Saint Lucia’s Housing Minister Richard Frederick returned to the island after attending some wide-ranging sessions overseas which focused on accessing housing funds and matters pertaining to local government business.

According to Frederick, the ministerial gathering held a discourse on the necessity of a housing programme, not only as a need but as a right for the general populace.

The minister emphasized that most of the settlements are located in low lying areas, considering that only 10% of the land is flat while 90% consists of hilly terrain. He added that, this 10% of the land owners and developers compete for projects in housing, tourism, and industrial structures.

“The sad reality is that when the climate change agents hit us, the devastation that is caused can sometimes be disheartening,” Frederick told reporters, at a media briefing, Monday.

“So, there was a collaborative effort to knock on the doors… of those countries that are instrumental in (causing) climate change,” he said.

The minister reiterated that the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) “emit very little carbon into the atmosphere” yet, “we feel the brunt of climate change but we don’t contribute to those hurricanes, earthquakes, sea level rises and so on that wreaks havoc.”

Frederick said, as a consequence of these events, funds and resources to deal with the situation “expeditiously, can never be tapped into.”

He noted that the ministerial gathering agreed the procedure is outdated, and “we don’t want to compromise accountability and transparency, but we echoed the need for a regional organisation to be the repository of Climate Change Funds to permit ready access by (to) countries in the region, if and when a calamity strikes.”

The minister said the meeting was effective, and he signed onto a memorandum declaring “that this will be one of our objectives, moving forward.”

Considering the ruggedness of the country’s road conditions and the dangers posed winding down the hilly terrain across some major highroads, Frederick said, he proposed: “That we, as Small Island Developing States, our needs need to be met with due speed because we don’t have the reserve of the resources to restore the damage that those calamities can inevitably bring.”

He noted that the ministerial gathering, collectively put out a “clarion call” to elicit responses from the global community for requisite funds to expedite the process of rehabilitation after a disaster strikes.

From Buenos Aries, the minster proceeded to Rwanda where he attended a Commonwealth Local Government Conference.

He noted that while the Commonwealth spans across  52 to 53 countries, the local government forum consisted of more than 100 organisations in attendance.

Subsequently, Frederick was elected to the board of the Commonwealth Local Government Conference as one of the two ministers representing the Caribbean region. The other representative is the Jamaican housing minister.

The minister disclosed that the next meeting will be held in Samoa, next year.

In further updates, on the local front, Frederick stated that the Development Control Authority (DCA) has granted approval for the construction of five “multi-residential units”, in the Cas En Bas area.

“We submitted drawings of five structures, each of which will hold 15 families to be constructed in Cas En Bas,” he explained.

“As soon as the plans are approved in December, we will start construction at the earliest, come January 2024,” asserted Frederick.

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