The constant water outages in St Joseph were brought home forcibly tonight when a Nissan Navarra vehicle owned by West Indies international cricketer Jonathan Carter caught fire near a house in Lammings, St Joseph.
Carter, 28, is currently in Trinidad and Tobago on duty with the Barbados Pride team in the NAGICO Super 50 Championship, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday.
At the time of the fire, Veronica Alleyne, the maternal grandmother of Carter’s one-month-old niece, was attending a town hall meeting organized by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) at St Bernard’s Primary School, a mere 300 hundred metres away.
The meeting was the first of a series planned by the BLP as part of efforts to provide a platform for residents of the water-starved districts of St Joseph and St Thomas to share their challenges over the past few weeks and months. A similar meeting is planned on Thursday, January 7, at 7 p.m. for residents of St. Lucy, St. Peter and St. Andrew.
The Nissan Navarra vehicle was parked about five feet from a house owned by Ken Carrington of Lammings, St Joseph, in which Alleyne also resides.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY at the scene of the fire tonight, Carrington said: “I was not at home at the time of the fire. The car does not belong to me; the owner is overseas. It appears that an electrical fault caused the fire.”
Meanwhile, Heather Layne of Lammings Housing Area, St Joseph, who was also attending the Town Hall meeting told Barbados TODAY that she accompanied Alleyne on her journey home after they had received reports that there was a fire at Alleyne’s home. The report turned out to be wrong, but the house was engulfed in smoke.
Layne said upon noticing the danger, she rushed to rescue the one-month-old child and her mother.
“When I realized that the car was on fire and there was very little water in the district I immediately dashed into the house and put the little child under my blouse and placed her at a house that was not directly in front of Alleyne’s house. I took that decision because I did not want the child to be affected by the billowing smoke. The Alleyne/ Carrington household tried to extinguish the fire with a small hose but the water pressure was too low. They also tried to soak the house to avoid the fire spreading to it,” she said.
One fire tender and two officers under the command of Leading Fire Office Grantley Griffith from the Four Roads, St John Fire Station responded immediately to the fire, which attracted a sizeable crowd.
Over at St Bernard’s Primary School where a large crowd had braved the inclement weather to attend the town hall meeting, St Joseph MP Dale Marshall told Barbados TODAY he had already received permission from the Royal Barbados Police Force to stage a demonstration in front of the Barbados Water Authority Headquarters in the Pine. He did not say when it would be held.
Those attending the meeting expressed their frustration at the water shortages. One of the residents, 60-year-old Decoursey Holder of Lammings, St Joseph accused the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) of playing a “cat and mouse” game.
“Officials at the BWA are playing ‘cat and mouse’ with the people in St Joseph. When former Democratic Labour Party candidate Randall Rouse announced last week that he was planning to stage a demonstration in Lammings, the taps mysteriously came on. Now tonight, after the Barbados Labour Party announced that they were holding a town hall meeting to address the issue, once again we got water,” he charged.
Meanwhile, Veronica Alleyne, who came close to losing her home, summarized how the people of the district felt about the situation.
“I am fed up with the shortage of water in the district. We had grown accustomed to water outages, but in recent times it has deteriorated. I have a small grand child at home and there is always a need for water.”