A forthcoming structure in a St Michael community has several residents distressed. And while it is expected to obstruct the view of approximately five properties, the residents are even more agitated because they believe it will impede service vehicles in a case of emergency.
One Ellis Road, Bush Hall resident affected, 81–year–old Eurine Simmons, told Barbados TODAY she was very disturbed by the situation.
Speaking from her verandah as she sat in her usual spot watching people go about their daily duties, the pensioner said that upon returning to the island in 2009 she thought that as she neared the evening of her life she would be able to bask in relaxation and peace.
However, from early January this year that all changed when construction began on the plot of land next to hers.
The land at the centre of the dispute is located approximately six feet away from Simmons’ property. When completed it is alleged the structure will be two storeys in height. Simmons said the land was owned by a national residing overseas, and that she, as well as other residents were desirous of purchasing it, but were never given the chance to. Then it was sold to a non–resident of the area.
Had Ellis Road residents been given that opportunity, Simmons was adamant they never would have built on the property for the same reasons they now faced.
“She [the overseas owner] didn’t offer for us to buy it. If she did we would have buy it from she. I would have buy the piece in front of me . . . because I didn’t want no one living in front me and blocking off the view . . . . All we got a problem now because when this here build, we ain’t got no road to get out. If you sick you gine can’t get out and nothing can’t get to you,” the elderly woman said.
“If she had tell we, we would have buy it . . . . If she had tell we ’bout the land we would have bought the piece a ground . . .”
The retiree said she would be leaving the country because she could not bear with the noise and dust associated with construction so close to her home, for her health’s sake.
“All of my children and grandchildren live in New York, so I come here for some peace. All I needed is somewhere I can get out of a car or if I sick . . . . you know if the ambulance got to come or anything they can get up in here and get you out but this is the way the people in Barbados is –– disgusting.
“If this did in New York he couldn’t come and put that there. Them people does do as them like and think as they please, but let not your heart be troubled . . . . The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof and all that dwell in it,” said Simmons as she noted that neighbours had also contacted the Town Planning Department about the matter and were told there was nothing it could do.
Also affected is former senator Damien Griffith and his household. He revealed to Barbados TODAY that the issue to purchase the land went back many years to the time he was a child.
He made it clear that residents were not disgruntled because they were not given a choice to purchase it, but they were upset mainly because they wanted to purchase it to keep it as an access point.
Griffith said: “So that would have been ideal. Now this is the case where there is a house and you are talking about five [properties] and their access. But again landowners have rights and they don’t have to sell you land if they don’t want to, but they manage to block off everybody else, when the logical and simple solution without acrimony would have been to sell us the land . . . at a reasonable price. There would be a chance for everybody, if five people are splitting the price it would be more affordable . . . . So it is not that you haven’t been proactive.
“We have a different scenario than everyone else because this is not our end all and be all, but nobody else can get access. There is enough space [in the back] of us that we can petition to get a road cut, but then it doesn’t service anybody else; there are four other [properties].
“And to my understanding there is an intention to build something [in the above area of the house] so that definitely cuts them off totally.
Only here right in front of us benefits; but not anybody else. The land is problematic to say the least. There is nothing that I can do, but we are still exploring our options,” Griffith said.