Housing and Poverty Must be Tackled Jointly…Says PM Golding


Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding says the lack of shelter cannot be tackled without looking at the relationship between poverty and the lack of housing.
“If you cannot lift people out of poverty and you are providing them with housing they will never be able to honour their obligations in terms of meeting the costs of that housing. The sharpness of that relationship between poverty and housing has been highlighted by the current global crisis,” Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister was addressing the opening of the 18th General Assembly of Ministers and High Level Authorities on Housing and Urbanization in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI) at the Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay yesterday.
He said Jamaica is still groping for solutions but that our limitation is in finding the resources to implement them. “We have built up over the years, a powerful body of experiences; and would have been able to do much more were we not limited by resources.”
Mr. Golding said the Government had inherited a poverty reduction programme that had commanded the commendations of the World Bank and many other multi-lateral agencies because of its impact and the extent to which we are able to measure the improvements made. He added, “We are in danger of seeing a reversal of the gains because of the global crisis. This is why it is so important for multi-lateral agencies, especially the IMF, to recognise that the kind of policies they may insist upon must take into account that those gains which have been made in terms of poverty reduction and improving access to basic services, have to be preserved.Whatever policies they are negotiating with developing countries, must be so framed that we do not lose the progress we have made in those areas over the years.”
Dr. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director-UN Habitat, called for a balance of ecology, economy and equity. She told the meeting that the current global financial turmoil has made evident the need, for close linkages between the housing sector and the macro economy. She said the message being sent is that decent housing and universal access to basic urban services are critical to the attainment of internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals.

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