Our lives are in danger.
That is the claim of Earl Maynard, one of Barbados’ most famous sportsmen, who joined other residents of Chancery Lane, Christ Church to complain about a large area of bush in the community they believe could lead to a tragedy.
For several years residents in the district have called on authorities and the property owners to clear an overgrown piece of land from which the bush now extends into the only road leading to the close-knit district.
Several efforts by Barbados TODAY to reach officials at the Ministry of Environment and Drainage proved unsuccessful up to the time of publication.
However, Maynard, a retired international body builder and actor and professional wrestler, claimed the offending property is owned by the Abed family, a well-known name in the local business community.
Residents insisted the issue had gone on for too long and needed to be addressed urgently.
“I called Denis Lowe’s office; that was a waste of time. They said they were going to come and take care of it [and] we got nothing.
“They haven’t cut this grass in ten to 15 years. All this bush belongs to Abed,” the outspoken resident said.
Citing the deadly fires earlier this month in the American state of California which destroyed close to 2 400 homes, Maynard feared a similar tragedy could occur in the Christ Church community as there was a single entry and exit.
“We got one way in and one way out. If anything happens the whole community will be wiped out,” said the bodybuilder who won Mr Universe in 1964.
“If there is a fire up here, we can’t get out, because of how tall the grass has grown.
“The fire would swing down behind my house. I lived in California and I saw those fires. They wiped out an entire area and that can easily happen
“We close by the ocean and the wind shift would bring any fire unto our houses; we would all be burnt. It is as simple as that,” Maynard insisted.
The 81-year-old resident told Barbados TODAY that on previous occasions he paid to remove the grass and keep his surroundings clean, however, the cost of maintaining the lot was simply overbearing.
“We got tired of paying for it, we can’t afford it anymore. I had to pay for it because I fear it would grow on top of my house. The bush is halfway in the street and they won’t cut it.
“This is other people property. I should not have to pay for this. They don’t live down here but won’t come down here and clear it away,” Maynard complained, adding that it costs about $500 to clear the property.
He added that residents were also having issues with rodents and mosquitoes because of the grass.
When contacted by Barbados TODAY Anthony Abed responded by email saying: “The property is owned by multiple partners and we have engaged a property manager who has not reported any overgrown grass to us to date. We will, however, look into the issue as a matter of urgency.”