HC Deb 04 December 1946 vol 431 cc90-1W
89. Mr. Skinnard

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that tenements built under the auspices of the Government of British Guiana on the Wortmanville Housing Scheme are to be let at a high rental; that they are inconvenient, badly built and equipped; whether he will inquire in what circumstances the Government of British Guiana allocated the execution of the Wortmanville Housing Scheme to a private concern without tender; and give an assurance that no further houses of this standard will be built under any Government scheme.

Mr. Creech Jones

The Governor has reported that this scheme was a minor emergency arrangement to provide four two-storied buildings to accommodate 48 families in an acutely congested area in Georgetown. The flats were erected from municipal funds and responsibility was delegated by the Governor to the Mayor of Georgetown and a special unofficial committee. This committee contracted with a local firm. Various faults in the construction have since been reported, including the use of unseasoned timber through shortage of seasoned timber. Difficulties were experienced in obtaining materials, and the costs of construction proved higher than was expected. Rentals, I understand, have not yet been settled. In the light of experience, the contract for this work was faulty in some respects. The Governor is satisfied that the Mayor and committee acted in good faith. The design is stated to be satisfactory and the housing will be a great improvement on previous standards. A further report will be submitted later and the standards and rentals under any further housing scheme will be most carefully reviewed. Meanwhile, a planning officer with architectural qualifications is being recruited for British Guiana under a Colonial Development and Welfare Scheme.

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