Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says providing practical, affordable and accessible housing solutions for all Jamaicans will be one of the key priorities for the Ministry.
At the same time, he said the Ministry will be seeking the support of the private sector to help make this priority a reality, as the Government, in turn, provides support to investors and developers in the real estate industry.
In an interview with JIS News following the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday (September 13) at King’s House, the Minister said the Government has been very aggressive and advanced in its mandate to provide safe and practical housing solutions for Jamaicans and the Ministry will continue to advance that mandate.
“We are looking to ensure that we provide practical housing solutions,” the new Minister said.
Mr. Charles Jr. said the Government has adjusted several variables when it comes to housing, whether it is access to loans, interest rates or just the procedure to make it more efficient and effective.
“We are going to continue to examine the practices to make sure that we are putting forward the kind of mechanisms that afford as many Jamaicans as possible, the real opportunity to gain access to housing solutions and we are going to work with the private sector because it’s not going be Government alone,” the Minister said.
“A big part of what we have to do is to ensure that we are providing the support for those persons who want to take the risk, who want to invest in developing spaces in the country and that is going to be done through the necessary policies and legislation, and if there are changes that are going to be required, we will be properly guided by the technical experts in the Ministry,” he added.
Mr. Charles Jr., the former Senator and Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Housing and Water, says he is confident that the Ministry will be able to move forward.
“We have done a lot of work in the last tenure and we can only continue that work and get better,” he said.
Also on the Minister’s list of priorities are the environment and urban renewal.
“We are looking to ensure that we meet the mandate in terms of the global achievements for climate change in the Sustainable Development Goals and we are looking to ensure that we continue our very good track record when it comes to making decisions that make it very clear that this Government respects the environment and will ensure we put the environment as a priority area in our development mandate,” he said.
Urban renewal, Mr. Charles emphasised is very critical as it “speaks to so many areas that are the faces of our cities, and making that a priority will ensure that we create an enabling environment where people will be able to not just live safely, but they will want to strive.”
The Minister said he is honoured that the Prime Minister has placed such enormous confidence in his abilities to handle the new Ministry, which he describes as “the coupling of very critical areas that speak to pivotal areas of our manifesto.”