3 May 2009

Letter from a reader

It is with dismay and anger I write this letter. I have seen in the newspapers that the NHA tenants are considering asking NHA not to raise the rents of their apartments.

This is so ridiculous that I am nearly beside myself with anger at these people. Some of these rents are as low as $100 per month, and yet they are claiming that they are unable to pay this due to hardship.

Considering that many of these people occupy these apartments for upwards of 20 years, the inability to pay the low rent is a sad testament to the policies of the PNM, whom we know acts as a Godfather to occupiers of these properties. Have their circumstances in 20 years not improved significantly enough to pay this fee? And yet, if one were to conduct an investigation, one would see the tenants and their nennen going to every fete that comes along, not to mention forking out many times this amount to jump up in bands for Carnival, or attend Panorama.

In some cases, the properties are occupied (illegally in certain cases) by relatives of the original tenants, the original tenants having moved on or passed away. Many times this younger generation is better educated and have lucrative jobs – how many are ‘residual squatters’ of the CEPEP and other similar programs? And yet they protest a rent that cost less than the 4 boxes of KFC which they eat in less than a week, and many times less than the cost of the brands, bling, or bail they pay for on a regular basis!

In the meantime, a young single mother like myself have to pay $1800 per month for a small apartment privately, a rent based upon the whims of my landlord who can raise the rent at any time he fancies, and me having no recourse but to pay if I want a roof over my head and that of my 2 year old. Add to this day care fees for someone to look after my child when I go to work, the astronomical cost of groceries, of healthcare for a vulnerable child (and myself), for clothing for a child who outgrows everything in a matter of months, the cost of milk and diapers, and one can see the struggle I face daily to live on a salary that barely meets my needs.

Yet, when I apply for an NHA property, I am given a run around by those who love to exercise their petty power, who take pleasure in humiliating me and people like me simply because it gives them a sense of superiority.

No, I say raise the rents to the appropriate level that is required for the maintenance of the apartments at least, and those who don’t like it can get the hell out and find alternative accommodations in the real world!