White Hill residents still awaiting help
Three months after they were promised relocation, White Hill, St Andrew residents say they are still waiting, and suffering in the meantime.
While at least two residents have been moved to Farmers, St Thomas, the remaining residents said they have not been getting the assistance that Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman assured would be provided.
The area has been affected by road slippage for several years, but last November heavy rainfall caused another large section of the road to collapse, prompting a visit from Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley and a promise from Kellman that $25,000 grants would be made available to help them relocate.
“Nobody has come to us about accessing the $25,000 promised householders for relocation. Two residents from White Hill visited the National Housing Corporation and officials there told them they knew nothing about the grant,” outspoken resident Carlitha Andrews said when Barbados TODAY visited the area over the weekend.
However, when contacted, Kellman said the disbursement would depend on the availability of funds.
Andrews, meantime, questioned how the residents would get their possessions out.
“How are we supposed to move the houses and household [items] without a road being in place? Construct a temporary road so that we can move around freely,” she said.
“The residents are going crazy. It is disturbing me because I cannot get out as I like. There are residents who have not left their homes since the road collapsed on November 22, 2014. Even if the rain does not fall in the area, there is seepage of potable water into the soil from badly rusted pipe lines.”
Andrews added that some of her neighbours were sleeping at other people’s homes “because they cannot take the chance of staying in their homes at night or even during the day”.
The situation was also affecting children attending school.
“As recently as [last] Friday morning when the rain fell, the bus which transports the children of the area to the Hillaby/ Turners Hall Primary School could not climb the hill because of the slippery condition of the road. The road is narrow, and if the driver makes a mistake the bus carrying school children as young five years old could plunge into the deep gullies in the area,” Andrews said, adding that her daughter was expected to sit the Common Entrance Examination this year and could not afford to miss classes.
Meantime, former White Hill resident Patricia Phillips, who moved to Farmers three weeks ago, told Barbados TODAY she felt happy not to be living in fear of land slippage.