After spending $13 million of the $60 million Inter-American Development Bank loan, residents of the Garden Land, St Michael, which is one of the areas targeted for upgrading, are still without waterborne toilet facilities, properly paved roads and refurbished housing stock.
These concerns were raised by members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party as they continued their Rubbing Shoulders campaign in the Garden Land, St Michael, today.
Speaking to members of the Press shortly after meeting with residents of the area who voiced concerns over the poor condition under which they live, parliamentary representative for St Thomas, Cynthia Forde, said: “ I have had the proud privilege to be a resident of Welchman Hall, St Thomas, and a very close friend of all the families of Allen View, St Thomas. Allen View with three other communities, Cat’s Castle, Greenfields, the Garden Land were a part of the housing neighbourhood upgrading project where we would have seen the cuurent government following through on a project which was conceptualized by the BLP.
“Housing needed upgrading, roads needed to be repaired, but more importantly sewerage disposal was included in the project. In 2010, the Minister of Housing Michael Lashley held a meeting indicating that the project will start January 2011 and just over $5 million was to be spent in Allen View. Allen View sits on top of Harrison’s Cave and there has been a zonal restriction as well so that individuals can put new houses in the area. There are about eight to ten houses which do not have running water. So this project was a fillip for them. They thought that sewerage system would have been put in place and water borne toilet facilities installed,” Forde added.
She lamented the fact that there were still pit toilets in Allen View and that houses were to be realigned and kiosks were to be constructed to provide employment for some of the residents.
The outspoken parliamentarian said: “In fact not a cent was spent in Allen View. What bothers me most of all is if you are talking about Harrison’s Cave, which is seen as the Eight Wonder of the [Barbados], and you have already relocated a farmer who had pigs, and the concern that there was seepage waste into the cave, then how can you have residents living at the site with pit toilets. “They cannot grow any crops yet they are paying land tax. I was appalled last week to learn that the project was winding down and learn today that government had only spent $13 million of $60 million of the project,” Forde said.
She charged that this situation clearly shows that not the bureaucracy, but the Freundel Stuart administration is clueless.
“How do you treat poor people like that? The people of Cats castle have nothing: the people Greenfields have nothing and I know that their plight is worse or just as bad as that of the people of Allen View. We are asking the government to come out and tell the people of Barbados the truth about this novel project that was conceived by the BLP,” Forde said.
She charged that due to the failure of the administration to meet the conditionalities of the loan it has lost access to the funding.
Meanwhile, former parliamentary representative for St Michael West, Reverend Joseph Atherley expressed similar views and lamented the failure of the government to upgrade the area after promising so much.
Residents of the area, Everette Batson and Leonard Jordan, argued that in spite of the promises very little has been delivered.
Batson said that because of the language barrier which existed between the Chinese contractors who installed the sewerage system in his road he had to keep close watch over them less installed a faulty sewerage system at his house.
Jordan said that in spite of the limited work carried out in Second Avenue, the Garden Land, there was flooding in the area and many pot holes exist in the roads in the district.