Housing appeal launched to assist three recent fire victims

A $150,000 appeal has been launched to rebuild the three uninsured houses which were destroyed by fire at Richmond Gap, St Michael on July 9.

In making the anouncement this afternoon at a press conference at the office of the Urban Development Commission in The City, Parliamentary Representative for St. Michael West Michael Carrington called on Barbadians and the business community in particular to help the three householders who lost everything in the blaze and now had to start all over.

He said they were looking to build two-bedroom houses with a concrete toilet and bath at an estimated cost of $50,000 each. He also said he was holding discussions with the insurance companies to see if they could not cover the three houses which were occupied by David Bennett, Sheila Mapp as well as Marion Wickham, who shared her home with her incapacitated mother, Norma Best.

Bennett, Wickham and Mapp attended the press conference and took the opportunity to appeal to Barbadians to help them return to their homes by contributing to their reconstruction.

Also in attendance was the director of the Urban Development Commission Derek Alleyne who said his agency would be addressing each case according to its merit. Alleyne said the Commission, which has already cleared the site where the burnt out houses once stood, would likely lay down the foundations.  However, he made it clear, the UDC would not be assisting the three families with everything.

Carrington, who is the MP for the Richmond Gap area, said while the replacement of houses was outside the mandate of the UDC, he expects some kind of assistance from that government agency.

Even though he was grateful for the contributions of some individuals and entities such as the National Housing Corporation and the Welfare Department, he noted that these were short term.

In tracing a series of fires in his constituency every year since 2008, Carrington said this latest one in which five houses were razed, required much more than handouts.

“There isn’t every need that the constituency, whether it’s Council, the constituency representative or something could fulfill. But I am saying that, in this particular case, enough is enough; and we have to do something more than just the limited amount that we have been able to do,” he added.

“Yes, we’ve gotten some assistance from NHC they’ve been able to provide a temporary unit, yes we have gotten some assistance from [the] Welfare [Department], yes we will get some assistance from Urban [ Development Commission], but is only temporary.

“I have thrown out some other ideas which we can look at. But we felt that because of the magnitude of this one, we neeed to see whether we can go a bit further than just the offering the words of solace and offering the little donations,”   he said.


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