People living in a St Michael community are demanding urgent action from authorities at the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to cover a “very deep” well in their area, which they fear is on the verge of collapsing.
Less than two weeks after 17-year-old Kyrique Boyce plunged to his death in a 100-foot well in the Pine Government Housing Estate, an elderly woman from Friendship Terrace, Lodge Hill, St Michael and her daughter are pleading for authorities to prevent a similar tragedy happening there.
Yvonne Hinds purchased a house in the 1970’s from the Government, with her now deceased husband. Prior to moving in, a communal well was dug next to her house, which was connected to the septic systems of approximately ten nearby residents.
Years of wear and tear have caused the concrete slabs, which cover the well to slowly deteriorate until large chunks started falling in, leaving gaping holes, which people could fall through.
“I called them (NHC) here perhaps for the entire time I have been here. My husband died calling them about that. They came and looked at it and then left. I am fed up with it,” said Hinds.
She explained: “Two of the planks dropped in and the other sides dropped in. They came and placed a plank on it and they haven’t come back. All they are telling us is to keep far from it. How can I keep far when I have to walk around there to get to my place?” she asked.
Approximately two months ago, NHC officials reportedly came to the well and placed caution tape around it, but did not
With scores of children now at home on summer vacation, the elderly woman fears the risk of an accident occurring is now heightened.
“I am busy telling children not to run on that well. It’s annoying me and I am upset because my son goes out there to cut the grass and I can’t manage if it drops in,” she complained.
Numerous efforts to reach NHC officials proved futile but Yvonne’s daughter, Michelle Giles who grew up in the area is concerned about the wellbeing of her mother.
“I have never seen a well in such bad shape,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“Most people who visited just said this well can’t be fixed and it will have to be abandoned. That has been our issue, so when I got through to the NHC, they sent someone to put the caution tape around the well two weeks later and said they would conduct a site visit to see the status of these wells. Nobody has called us back,” said Giles.
“It’s not looking very good, because we are expecting the well to fall in very soon.”
Giles recalled that a man in a nearby avenue fell into a well in the 1980’s and survived, prompting authorities to abandon and replace the well.
“We don’t want the fix to be a reactive measure after somebody falls in…. we can’t even cut the grass at the edge of the property because there is a hole there and we don’t know how close you can go to the edge.
“My mother walks around there and we don’t want her going to the back gate because her house is at the end of the avenue and no one can see and we really can’t have her wandering around there until that is addressed,” said the concerned daughter.