Upscale Community For Young Professionals:
You Don’T Have To Be A Lawyer Or Doctor To Qualify
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the definition of young professionals who will be eligible to buy lots in a proposed upscale community in western New Providence is broad enough to include barbers, plumbers, farmers and many others—not just lawyers or doctors.
He was speaking during a debate in the House of Assembly yesterday on a resolution to develop the community, which involves 83 acres of land on the northern side of John F Kennedy Drive and the junction of Prospect Ridge.
Dr Minnis said: “We consider a professional as someone who is accomplished in his or her field, sufficient independent to sustain a mortgage or financial responsibility for a residential dwelling in a community. This community is not restricted to particular type of academic or professional training. You don’t have to be a lawyer, you don’t have to be a doctor or an engineer to qualify. A barber properly qualified is a professional. A plumber properly qualified is a professional. A beautician with proper qualification is a professional. Police, defence force (officers), they are professionals.
A teacher is a professional and that’s just to give a few examples, and so is a farmer. He is a professional so I don’t want people to misconstrue that a professional is only a doctor, lawyer or accountant, no, a professional has great definition.”
“Those areas in the juncture of Prospect Ridge and Sanford Drive, the land is at least three feet below sea level,” he said. “There will be no filling, no excavation, no compaction. We will utilise the ecological environment and to ensure there is no flooding. Areas that are low within the area will be utilised accordingly.”
He said those selected will be able to save up to $29,000 by spending $1,000 to purchase one of ten architectural designs the government will make available. He noted that those selected will pay no stamp tax and no real property tax for two years in addition to other concessions.
Those eligible for one of the 250 available lots must be younger than 45-years-old and resident in The Bahamas. “You’re not going to be overseas and try to build here,” Dr Minnis said. “You must be here.” Family Island residents are eligible to apply for a lot.
Dr Minnis emphasised that no applications have been accepted thus far and the application process will not go live until this summer. “No list of persons have been established for this community and guideline principles for this community have been established,” he said.
“There will be no favouritism, no speculation or flipping of property. No special group or special people will be prioritised, unlike what was done in Dignity (Gardens) where individuals were selected.”
Dr Minnis said applications must be made by individuals or married couples.
“Two or more people may also apply,” he said. “However, financial institutions would assess the risk determination of such applications and only first-time homeowners are eligible. First-time homeowner status will be confirmed by the Registrar General’s Department and the Department of Inland Revenue. An applicant may only be eligible once and may only acquire one properly in any such government home owning initiative.
“Banks are anxious to come on board,” he said. “Provisionally, they have stated that individuals would not have to come up with down payment which is one of the greatest obstacles to home construction. It would be possible because the equity would be so large. The banks we had not spoken to, other banks have called and stated that they too would like to be a part of this programme.”
Dr Minnis also said a pre-school will be built in the area and free pre-school education provided.
Dr Minnis said the maximum cost of the lots will be $50,000 and the development will feature walking paths, parks, a community centre, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a clubhouse. The size of the lots will be about 70x100 feet.
Dr Minnis contrasted the approach his administration is taking with the development to the approach previous Progressive Liberal Party administrations have taken. He said the Christie administration allowed people to be charged as much as $182,000 for homes in the Fort Charlotte area, a price he found too high and had dropped to $140,000 after taking office.
He also said the PLP approved a $10 million investment in a house near Goodman’s Bay that was intended to be used by a Prime Minister for entertainment purposes.
He said $6,981,946 has already been spent in connection with the property, with little to show for the investment.
Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis, who was Deputy Prime Minister in the last Christie administration, countered that the development was to entertain dignitaries from around the world and had no “special interest to the former Prime Minister”.