"When there is sand, there are no bricks,” protests a lady this week outside the market in Havana’s La Timna neighborhood. People’s dissatisfaction with regards to quality, quantity and variety of construction materials continues unresolved despite having been addressed at the accountability meetings of the People’s Power throughout the country and in the national press.
The situation shows no signs of improvement despite the annual application of the Program for Local Production and Sales of Construction Materials, which began this Tuesday for the seventh consecutive year, starting in Guantanamo province and concluding on October 15 in Isla de la Juventud, according to the schedule published in the official press.
The aspects to be evaluated are the level of management, the strategy for assuring that the 2015 plan targets will be met in each entity, and specifics regarding the 2016 program. In previous years the agenda has included other issues such as quality, innovation and environmental protection.
However, the fact that they have already published the dates and times for each local inspection distorts the picture, because it allows the offenders to be prepared and to eliminate, at least for this one day, the irregularities that affect their services.
Customers’ worst criticisms are not only about the supplies, but also about the mechanisms of sales, to which they attribute the appearance of resellers who manage to divert state transports to haul the materials – aggregates, cement, steel, granite tiles and plumbing fixtures – to send their cargoes directly to the black market with the presumed complicity of the administrative employees.
The head of the National Group for Local Production and Sales of Construction Materials, Manuel Tomas Vazquez, announced that in the previous evaluation process only five provinces were certified “good”: Matanzas, Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila, Las Tunas and Santiago de Cuba.
Five were rated “regular” – Pinar del Rīo, Artemisa, Sancti Spiritus, Holguín and Granma – while in the “bad” category were Havana, Mayabeque, the Isla de la Juventud Special Municipality, Cienfuegos, Camagüey and Guantánamo.
In the last session of the National Assembly, Vice President Ramiro Valdes Menendez criticized the irregularities and illegalities that threaten the production, transportation and sale of building materials.