There’s growing concern once again about the potential for landslides across the Scotland District, and the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance is being called upon to assist.
Clarina Green, 75, a long-time resident of Chalky Mount, St Andrew, said she is praying earnestly that her three-bedroom wall house, which, for the last 10 years has been slowly slipping, does not end up in the nearby gully.
Supported by Democratic Labour Party (DLP) St Andrew candidate Oldwin Skeete, Green said sometime ago the house next door had collapsed and since then, her fencing, kitchen garden and the concrete portion of her backyard had started caving in.
She told Barbados TODAY that as far back as 2010, officials from the Soil Conservation Unit had examined the property, but no assistance had been provided.
“To be truthful, I am just praying to God and asking God not to let it get worse, because before, when I could get down there [behind the house], I would look underneath and see all of the movements under there. Some nights I am very scared because most of the time I am here alone just praying to God not to let it get any worse. I am very scared when we get [bad] weather,” Green said.
“When I think about it, my next-door neighbour’s home is gone… so I was praying and asking God not to let it happen to me because they are younger than I and they can get around now and I am an old woman. The worst that could happen is that you might wake up and find your house down in the gully or part of your house in the gully behind there.”
The 75-year-old mother of three explained that after working for many years at the Soil Conservation Unit, she upgraded the house from a chattel structure to a wall house, after which the slippage began. Greene said she would not have made that investment if she had been aware of the land slippage.
Residents said that for many years, others faced similar issues, including the Chalky Mount Weslyann Holiness Church.
Skeete said he had been monitoring the situation for some time.
“The problem is that the lands need stabilizing. If not, it could very well threaten the structure of the house, and as a senior citizen it is very troubling and we are hoping that sooner rather than later urgent attention will be given to this situation to rectify the problem,” the DLP candidate told Barbados TODAY.
“This is a senior that we are talking about and even if it was an able-bodied person, it would still be the same concern because a house is the livelihood of people.
“This lady worked hard for all of her years and now that she is in the evening of her years, she deserves to have that peace of mind and safety knowing that when she goes to sleep at night, her house is safe and is a good environment for her to continue living in,” he added.
Skeete contended that while stabilization work has been done at Cambridge, St Andrew in response to similar issues affecting a bar in that area, other areas were in desperate need of assistance.
With the Atlantic hurricane season underway, he called for trenching, terracing and gabion baskets to be placed in places like White Hill, Cambridge, St Simon’s, and other areas across the Scotland District.
“We have heard in the predictions that this year might be a heightened hurricane season and, in light of that, we don’t want to see any further damage being done to the house or the land,” Skeete contended.
“I am asking the Ministry of Transport and Works to look into these problems, because they are the people who have the wherewithal to make sure these people’s problems are dealt with in a meaningful manner.
“The issue we have here is that you can’t tell on a given day how much the land might slip. Today it might slip an inch or two, another day it might slip two feet or four. You can’t really give a definite on how it will slip, so the issue is to get it rectified so that you will prevent or mitigate any slippage,” he added.
Efforts to reach Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources Ian Gooding Edghill were unsuccessful.