Tenants who occupy the National Housing Corporation’s (NHC) two high-rise apartment buildings at Valery, St Michael say they are currently living in fear, with security virtually non-existent.
For several months now a broken key has been lodged in the door knob at the main entrance of one of the buildings and an upset Elijah Tafari, who has been residing at Valery for the past three years with his wife and children, told Barbados TODAY that nothing was being done by the building superintendent to address the problem.
“It bothers me,” he said, adding that the current threat level was high.
“On a scale of zero to ten, I have to say 12. It is a big threat,” he said while quoting another resident as saying that “he saw two fellas with black hoodies on walk straight inside the building, [and that] he was expecting to hear gun shots with all the foolishness that [is] going on.
“It’s crazy. People in and out the building as they please and don’t live in the building,” Tafari said, adding that “the only security that the tenants have are the fellas on the block.
“Those are the only people we can depend on.”
His concerns were echoed by another tenant, Anthony Williams, who suggested that the simple solution was for the security locks to be changed.
“This is more than a month, I think the door needs to be fix. This is something ongoing. If it was jammed with a key and somebody coming in and out it should be fixed by the next day. My take on it is that whole lock want changing and everybody get a new key and that would be proper security,” he told Barbados TODAY.
However, Tafari complained that some tenants were also deliberately leaving the entrance to the building open so their friends could come in late at night.
“Sometimes I would come home and the door would be [open and] anybody can walk in. Me, personally, when I come and I see it like that, I does be real edgy.”
He also reported that as recently as last night, the building’s fire alarm system was triggered and it took about two hours before anyone could come and shut it off.
“I had to give the firemen a number to call to get hold of someone in higher authority to get the problem fixed,” said Tafari, who operates a catering business.
“I was working and I had to stop preparing my fishcake batter and dealing with my staff to sort out that. It was about after 9 [p.m.]. Most people evacuated the building and went out, I said, ‘okay, it’s a fire alarm let me check on my family’, and I went outside and I checked [but] there were no signs of smoke.”
Convinced that the alarm system was being tampered with, the frustrated small businessman believes the installation of security cameras would solve the problem.
“Security cameras turn people off. There are none in the building. We had talked about that months now [but] nobody didn’t come to measure or anything,” he said, adding, “I don’t feel safe”.
He stressed that while he could defend himself, his biggest concerns were his family and his fellow tenants.
“It’s a serious security hazard,” he said, while insisting that the building superintendent was not doing enough to ensure safety of tenants.
“ If you hiring me to do a job at least twice a week I will walk around and spray the locks and make sure that the residents are secured properly, [but] these things aren’t being done.
“A girl get stab up in the building and nobody didn’t say anything or do anything,” he lamented.
When contacted by Barbados TODAY, NHC General Manager Lanette Napoleon-Young said in a very brief comment that as far as she was concerned the security concerns at Valery had been dealt with.