Frustration in White Hill
A Government programme to relocate residents of White Hill, St Andrew has stalled due to a lack of funds.
The area has been affected by road slippage, made worse by a massive landslide last November which caused the collapse of a large section of the road to collapse.
Minister of Housing Denis Kellman said today that five households had been moved. However, he told Barbados TODAY the project stalled when the money ran out.
“It was Government’s plan to provide grants to households on condition that they gave up their plots at White Hill. Government also expressed an interest in relocating some households at Farmers, St Thomas and so far five households have been relocated. Unfortunately, funding ran out and the relocation programme has been temporarily halted,” Kellman said.
When a team from Barbados TODAY visited the community several residents expressed their frustration at the lack of progress.
“Residents are still awaiting word from the officials of the National Housing Corporation on the relocation of their homes. I visited the NHC to be registered as was instructed, I was told that they would contact me but I am yet to hear from them,” one resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
Olivia Andrews, a mother of three boys and a girl, complained of the difficulty she had walking on the road, particularly when it rained.
“In spite of all the promises, no official of either the NHC or the Ministry of Transport and Works has contacted us . . . We still have to walk on a road that is slippery when wet. We would like to have a properly paved road so that we do not have to travel on a road that is uneven. As it stands now, we have to walk long distances with heavy parcels,” she pointed out.
Another resident, Marguerite Bellamy, who was described as a community worker, took issue with what she said was the apparent haste to abandon the area.
She accused the authorities of using last year’s landslides as an excuse to abandon White Hill, arguing landslides could be contained with modern engineering techniques.
“There are methods and means to contain landslides. Sturges provides a good example of what can be done to contain land slippage. The officials sank wells to control the underground water and that community is still intact today,” Bellamy contended.
“Similar engineering techniques can be employed to keep the White Hill community intact. White Hill still provides one of the best views of the East Coast of Barbados and the rolling hills of the Scotland District,” she added.
Last year, Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley said he was advised by experts that the road should be abandoned. However, earlier this year, he announced that it could cost some $2 million to provide the community with a new road.