A Duncans, St Philip man appears to be caught in limbo as the owners of the land he lives on have rejected the Government’s post-hurricane repairs of his house.
Ricardo Parris said that following the July hurricane, he received a visit from Ministry of Housing officials who informed him that because of the state of his house which is now exposed to the elements, he is a suitable candidate to have a new structure rebuilt.
But Parris, who explained that he sometimes earns a living cutting grass, said the Ministry of Housing is unable to proceed with the rebuilding process because the owners of the land have repeatedly made clear that they do not want a new structure there.
Parris said that while he bought parts of an old wooden house to repair the house where he has been living for almost 30 years, the owners of the property served him a notice urging him to cease and desist from carrying out any works on their land.
But Parris who said that it has been difficult living in the deplorable conditions for the past month told Barbados TODAY that it is unfair that after living on the spot for many years he is now being denied the right to have the house repaired or rebuilt to allow him to have some dignity.
He said that the previous owner of the land had died and those who have inherited it have been denying him the right to turn it into a suitable space for living, although “the old man promised me that I would get to buy it before he died”.
Parris said that while he is now receiving legal advice on the land dispute, his ongoing efforts to find land have been unsuccessful and indicated that he is now scratching his head regarding his next step.
He told Barbados TODAY: “Them ain’t ask me to leave, but them ain’t want me repair the house. I buy an old house to fix this one back up but them telling me I don’t have permission. I getting wet when the rain fall. I want to get my house put up because when the rain falls, I getting soak.
“As you can see, it can’t be comfortable like this here. As you could see my chairs outside and all my furniture because everything in the house get damaged. Rural [Development Commission] say that once they don’t get permission from the owner of the land, there is nothing they can do for me. I checking around for spots but I ain’t finding anything. You believe she is a pastor running a church there at the back of me and I can’t live here.”
Deidre Boyce who said she owns the inherited property with her husband Adrian Boyce, told Barbados TODAY that when Barbados was affected by Tomas in 2008, Parris’s house was extensively damaged and they informed him then that he would be unable to rebuild there.
Boyce said following Hurricane Elsa, she again asked Parris not to rebuild on the land. But after observing Parris in the process of using old boards to replace the flooring, she called in Police to ask him to stop.
Boyce, who lives next door to Parris, said the officer informed her that she would have to take the matter to court.
She said: “He knew from the beginning that he was not supposed to build there. He knew from the beginning that he was not supposed to stay there. So, he is saying that he in the house getting wet and we ain’t getting wet, but he was getting wet for years now because that house was not in good living condition for many years.
“The house was not in any good condition since Tomas, that is 13 years. Why you want to fight somebody for what is their own, and it ain’t like you pay rent. And as I said to him, this is our yard you are living in, you are invading our privacy anyhow. He is claiming that the old man was going to sell him and that is a lie, because this is all one plot of land”.