Two months after her childhood home at Kendall Hill, Christ Church was demolished as a result of an eviction order, 88-year-old Edmunda Gittens is still waiting on her parliamentary representative and Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley to fulfil his promise of a new home at Brighton, St George.
Back in March, Lashley, the Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Central, gave resolute assurances that the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and the Rural Development Commission were working behind the scenes to construct a permanent four-bedroom home for Gittens in Brighton.
“The priority has been handled in that the housing has been sorted out . . . . We now have to wait on those agencies to see what can be done and how soon it can be done,” Lashley had said at the time.
However, Gittens, who is still residing in temporary housing provided by the Welfare Department, told Barbados TODAY she felt as though she had been forgotten by the authorities.
“All of this time has passed and still I am not hearing anything about the house,” said the mother of eight, whose husband passed away several years ago.
However, when asked about the promised home for the elderly woman, Public Relations Officer for the Rural Development Commission Wendy Burke said her organization had no record of Gittens’ case.
“The Rural Development Commission is not connected with the Gittens case and she is not a client of our agency; moreover, we are not in the process of building any four-bedroom home for her at this time,” Burke said.
Lashley, who has been in Parliament all week for the Budget debate, could not be reached for comment on the matter.
However, Chairman of the National Assistance Board Senator David Durant sought to assure that plans for the new home were still in the pipeline, even though he reported – in direct contradiction to Lashley’s earlier promise of a four-bedroom house – that Gittens was now in line to receive a two-bedroom dwelling.
“I had responded to the eviction notice on the same day Mrs Gittens was evicted and we have relocated her to a home in Maxwell, Christ Church which the Welfare Department is funding,” Durant explained.
“We are in preparation to construct a two-bedroom home for her in Brighton, St George with the assistance of the National Housing Corporation and we have workmen scheduled to use the skeleton of her former home to build a more modern two-bedroom home, and construction is set to occur very soon,” said Durant, who was visibly upset over Burke’s comments.
He promised to update the media when ground breaking work commences.