UPDATED: Scroll to very bottom to read update
“Distort The Truth? A Minister Of Government Like Me? Never!”
Government Minister Gline Clarke Lied To The United Nations And The World On Behalf Of Barbados…
“In addition, we have instituted a Building Code to effect an improved housing stock generally, including reduced vulnerability to naturally occurring events, such as hurricanes.”
Barbados Government Minister Gline Clarke in a statement to the 25th Special Session Of The General Assembly, New York, June 6, 2001
(Barbados still doesn’t have a building code. Minister Clarke lied.)
Show Us The Barbados Building Code Minister Clarke!
Barbados does not have a Building Code.
Oh, we have a few drafts kicking around – a few stillborn scribblings – but we don’t have a law that has been passed by Parliament.
So we have no building code.
Gline Clarke knows this today. During a recent interview at the scene of the Brittons Hill apartment collapse, Minister Clarke corrected himself during an interview, first saying words to the effect “We have a building code” and then immediately correcting himself to say words to the effect “We are working on a building code.”
We were recording him when we heard him say the first lie at the cave-in. I made a mental note of it – but he must have picked up my thoughts because he corrected himself right away. Minister Clarke knew that the loss of life at Brittons Hill would cause Bajans to ask serious questions about our building process and laws – so he didn’t want to be caught out with an untruth.
But Minister Clarke didn’t correct himself in his statement to the United Nations on June 6, 2001.
He very clearly said in front of the United Nations that Barbados had “instituted a building code.”
Minister Clarke, while representing Barbados before the UN and the world, lied.
That is the way it is with our current spin-doctors in government – all about the look, the show, controlling perception. Barbados citizens deserve better.
HONOURABLE GLINE CLARKS
MINISTER OF HOUSING AND LANDS
TWENTY-FIFTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE
GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR AN OVERALL
REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OUTCOME OF
THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON
HUMAN SETTLEMENTS (HABITAT II)
June 6, 2001
Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am honoured to be given the opportunity to address this Special Session of the General Assembly in respect of the review of the Habitat Agenda. Five years have passed since we met in a similar forum in Istanbul to formulate the Habitat Agenda, and many of us would have come away from that Conference with great expectations for its implementation.
We would nevertheless have been realistic enough to know that implementation would be challenging, especially in an environment of limited resources. Therefore, Mr. President, in conducting this review, we should not be disheartened by any shortfall in achievement since 1996, but rather, we should focus on charting a forward path, towards accelerated implementation.
Mr. President, I welcome the opportunity to highlight some of my country’s experiences since 1996. I am pleased to report that the Government and people of Barbados have taken this Review very seriously, and all the stakeholders have participated actively in the preparation of the National Report. The National Habitat Committee has been expanded, and participation has been at a very high standard.
At the Second PrepCom, concern was expressed that five years was an insufficient period for a review to be conducted. Be that as it may, I certainly believe that this Review is timely since it comes at a juncture when the Centre for Human Settlements is being reorganised and when the phenomenon of globalisation is becoming entrenched. In this regard, I can report that the National Committee has identified a number of new issues that have become a challenge to the realisation of the twin goals of “Adequate Shelter For All” and “Sustainable Human Settlements In An Urbanising World”.
Foremost among these, is perhaps the rising cost of land. As a small island, Barbados’ land resource is a premium. The demand for land is getting progressively stronger, and as a result, the price of land has escalated. In addition, the availability of land along what is known as the “Urban Corridor” stretching from the north to the south of the island, has been substantially reduced. This trend has inflated the cost of land, even in the interior. However, Government has tried to protect the segment of the population who rent land by making it possible for them to purchase their house-spots at 10 cents and in some cases $2.50 per square foot.
We must be ever-conscious of the fact that land and property markets in small island states are not as well-developed, nor do they function as efficiently as those in more developed countries. Accordingly, some form of government intervention is often needed to protect vulnerable persons, in the interest of social equity, and to achieve the Habitat goal of Adequate Shelter For All.
For this purpose, Barbados has established a land banking programme through which the Government systematically acquires and vests land in the relevant social agencies. Those agencies have the responsibility to ensure that those persons whose needs are not met by the formal markets can actually establish tenure at an affordable cost. At this stage, I should point out that there are different elements to this Programme, including the use of private sector initiatives and other participants in the formal market. We shall be making a best practice submission in this area in due course.
Since 1996, much progress has been made in urban development. In 1997, we established the Urban Development Commission, which has the mandate to fast track the implementation of an Urban Renewal Programme. The work of that agency has so far met with much success such as the upgrading of houses, the provision of roads and footpaths to facilitate access, street lighting, disbursement of loans and the transfer of land title to tenants at subsidised prices. The Commission’s work targets the poor and is indeed an indispensable element of my country’s poverty alleviation programme.
Mr. President, we have sought where possible to tap into the positive aspects of globalisation, as it relates to Habitat issues. We are currently examining alternative building technologies. These technologies are cheaper, and just as durable as traditional, local materials. They are also hurricane-resistant, which is a vital consideration for countries like Barbados, which face a perennial threat to their human settlements, from naturally occurring events such as hurricanes.
Mr. President, with respect to housing legislation, we have in the past, concentrated on land tenure and the enfranchisement of longstanding tenants at nominal prices. However, as we undertook the review of the Habitat Agenda, it became more and more apparent that there was need for protection of house tenants as well. Accordingly, we are now examining our laws with a view to ensuring that poor households are not rented sub-standard housing. In addition, we have instituted a Building Code to effect an improved housing stock generally, including reduced vulnerability to naturally occurring events, such as hurricanes.
In closing, I remain confident that this Special Session will serve to place the entire Habitat Agenda into proper perspective, as far as implementation is concerned. Now is the time for action, if the impact of the Habitat II Conference is to be fostered and maintained.
Mr. President, Barbados is anxious that the outputs of this Review should provide a significant impetus to our goals of achieving adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements.
Mr. President, I thank you.
From the website of the United Nations (link here)
UPDATED: Sept 11, 2007 09:20am Barbados Time
We just received this excellent information from our friend Bush Tea, who tells us about the status of the Building Code in Barbados.
Bottom line: Yes, folks are working with a draft that has no power in law – because there is no law respecting our “take it or leave it” Building Code. It is voluntary on the part of engineers. As we said, there is no building code in Barbados law…
Letter from Bush Tea…
While you are technically correct that there is no Barbados building code that contractors are required to follow, you should know that there IS IN FACT a building code that has been in PLACE in Barbados since 1993 and is used by engineers.
This code has been adopted by BNSI after extensive discussion with engineers etc, however, like many laws in this island, there has been no application, enforcement or followup.
Obviously the code is in need of upgrade after 15 years, and this is what the focus of the recent talk has been about, but here is the BIG ISSUE.. the weakness of the first code has not been addressed – ENFORCEMENT.
The problem is that no law requires that contractors apply this code when building, (that would probably cause some problems for the yardfowls who get these building contracts for RDC and other government schemes.) so it is TOTALLY voluntary.
When Engineers raised this and other issues with Glyne Clarke, he responded with insults about ‘if greedy wait, hot will cool…’
The problem with the new attempt to establish a code is that Government will have to hire a massive staff in order cope with the volume of applications or we will see even longer delays and red tape. The argument between BAPE and the consultant Matthews was about the correct approach to take in this regard. BAPE was proposing a small admin and overview office and a REQUIREMENT that a competent professional be required to sign off on all building projects, while Matthews wanted a large office with inspectors etc who had to check each stage of each project in progress.
As usual -no real progress has been made so far.