Residents of Parish Land, St Philip, are concerned their neighbourhood will be “bombarded” by squatters following Government’s decision to relocate them there.
And Chairman of the Carpenter’s Glade Home Owners’ Association, Ian Drakes is calling on the management of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to come clean with residents and inform them of the plans.
On Tuesday, ground was broken in the St Philip development where Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance Dr William Duguid revealed that houses would be constructed for 20 squatters who were residing illegally in Rock Hall, St Philip.
It is expected the squatters will move into their new homes within the next two months.
However, on Tuesday evening a group of residents led by Drakes, held a meeting in the community to vent their frustrations.
They have also obtained the services of Queen’s Counsel Michael Lashley to represent them.
Drakes complained that the NHC did not have the decency to inform residents of the planned move.
“We don’t want our neighbourhood bombarded just because Government has to find a place for the squatters,” he contended.
He further alleged that residents had been complaining for several months about issues being experienced in the development.
These he said included overgrown bush, blocked drains and in some instances, leaking houses.
Drakes said while no action had been forthcoming, he was surprised to see Government was now building a road and houses to accommodate the squatters.
“Really and truly we up here are so frustrated with the manner in which we have been treated. We are very hardworking people. Some of us paying a mortgage for 20-25 years and it really isn’t easy on us to be forking out our money every single month…
“The Government can’t find money to fix our problems but they have quickly found money to put the squatters in the old Parish Land on the other side of the road where groundbreaking occurred.
“Housing is actually doing some of our work that we’ve requested for months now, but they are only doing it because the minister is coming so they want the place to look a certain way so the photographers and the media can actually see good looking houses, well manicured, but for months now and years we were actually asking for these things and housing refused to actually assist us,” he argued.
Drakes said they had received no communication from Government regarding the planned construction.
He maintained that this was “gross disrespect” to residents.
“But we see all the excavators in our neighbourhood and children have to stop inside the house because they can’t ride their bicycles because we don’t know if a big truck is going to run over them, an excavator, a bobcat.
“How are you actually going to start this major construction in our neighbourhood and don’t even have the audacity, the respect for our residents to come and say, ‘Residents we are starting to build houses’. Nothing like that! We are up to our necks right now and we need answers,” an upset Drakes said.
Lashley, who coincidentally was Minister of Housing and Lands when the development at Parish Land was conceptualized, said he was at the meeting to hear their grievances and see how he could “take the matter forward” on their behalf.
He suggested that a petition be formed which could then be presented to the NHC.
“There needs to be some communication between management at NHC and the residents down here. I believe that if there is anything that impacts a development under the NHC that there should be some conduit of communication between NHC and representatives for the residents,” Lashley said.
He said he would be seeking a meeting with management at the NHC this week. [email protected]