Prime Minister Mia Mottley has given the assurance that her Government will do right by the family of 17-year-old Kyrique Boyce who died after falling into a well at Martin Road, The Pine, while declaring as “unacceptable” the lack of maintenance by a Government agency that is being blamed for his death.
Mottley also gave her word that the long-standing issues residents in the public housing area have with the National Housing Corporation will be addressed.
The Prime Minister, who was attending the CARICOM summit in St Lucia at the time Boyce fell into a 100-foot drainage well, told reporters this afternoon that she visited the family shortly after returning to Barbados.
“I visited the family as soon as I returned to the country and rest assured that the Government will do what it has to do by the family and by the residence of all of the housing areas that continue to have difficulties that have been outstanding for way too long,” Mottley said.
She did not go into details on how Government intends to handle the aftermath of the tragedy and the pain it has caused the family, who have already made it clear that they will be suing for negligence.
Boyce, a former student of the Daryll Jordan Secondary School, was on his way to buy a roti when he stepped on the neighbourhood well, whose cover caved in. Residents claimed they had been calling the NHC for over a year to repair the damaged well.
Anger has simmered ever since the incident as many expressed concerns that it took death for the public housing agency to respond. Housing Minister Charles Griffith revealed that the National Housing Corporation did not have the money nor the materials available to repair the well.
The Minister said: “We have taken stock at what is happening at that location and the other locations and I could assure all of those residents who are living in those housing estates that we will rectify the situation as soon as possible.
“We have been cash-strapped for a while as it relates to dealing with issues like this, but we understand the significance of fixing these wells. It is unfortunate that this situation would have happened, but the NHC and the ministry are actively on the job dealing with the situation.”
But Mottley did not mince words in describing the situation as “unacceptable”.
She declared: “Really and truly this is an unacceptable situation. We also have to set some standards for the things that we do in public spaces and make sure that when people do things that they coincide with the standards that have been set.”
Mottley asked for the public’s patience as Government grapples with the issue.
She added: “As I keep saying, there is only 24 hours in a day and limited funds available and we are trying to spread it out as much as we can.”
There was no immediate word on when funeral services are to be held for the teenager.