While workmen have started sealing the 100-foot well in the Pine Housing Estate in which 17-year-old Kyriq Boyce lost his life, they could do little to mend the broken hearts of his devastated relatives and neighbours more than 24 hours after his horrific death rocked the housing area.
On Friday morning, a five-man crew from the National Housing Corporation (NHC) had to brave the wailing and quarrelling from residents as they worked on covering the hole.
Fearing for their personal safety, the early morning crew quickly left the track at Martin Road, the Pine St Michael, where hours before, the critically-wounded young man was at the centre of a brave, but unsuccessful effort by emergency officials to save his life.
At Kyriq’s home in the same community, his mother, Tonya Francis could not be consoled as scores of relatives and neighbours crowded her Regent Hill Government unit to lend support. Barbados TODAY understands Francis had not slept nor eaten since learning her oldest son had succumbed to his injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The young man had four siblings including one sister.
“The only thing she is asking for is Kyriq. Other than that, she isn’t saying anything and water is just running down her eyes all the time,” said a close relative.
Others were adamant Government would be sued for breaching its duty of care owed to tenants.
“For years we have been begging housing (NHC) to cast this well and they waited until somebody died. Now they are saying it is a plantation well. But I used to live out here and I saw that well while I was growing up,” said an upset man.
“From the age of nine my mother brought me out here to live and this well was dug when I was 17 or 18 years old.”
Jan Eversley, a boisterous and visibly grieving family friend told Barbados TODAY the NHC’s efforts were unsatisfactory since residents pleaded for numerous wells in the area to be properly covered.
“I am not satisfied. Why is it that only now Kyriq is dead, they’re finding material to come here with. I have a big manhole in my yard that they dug years ago and I have a little child. Tell me where they found the material that they can show up here today?” she questioned.
Others complained the tragic event pointed to a greater level of neglect shown by successive governments toward their community, manifested in the mold, faulty electricity and other critical issues with which residents had to contend.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Lands Charles Griffith later in the day said he and other officials visited the scene and promised workers would permanently seal the well with concrete.
He added that numerous other wells in the area would be given priority.
“We would have started work before to cover the wells. There’s a systematic way that we are going about covering all of the wells that are problematic in the estate. The work is ongoing and scheduled and the wells will be covered in due course.
When questioned about a general neglect of local housing units, he said: “We’ve been in government now just over a year. The remedial work and repairs that should have been done on these units has not been done for ten years.
“We are starting a proactive programme as it relates to the repairs of all of our housing units,” said Griffith.