Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Nothing for 2007 storm victims?

Published:Saturday | June 25, 2016 | 6:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Reference is made to your Monday, June 20, 2016, Gleaner publication captioned 'Caribbean Terrace storm victims to get housing solutions at reduced cost'.

As far as I am aware, the victims of Hurricane Ivan, which sideswiped Jamaica in 2004, have already been compensated by the Government (whether adequately or not).

Those individual homeowners included 15 from Caribbean Terrace and two from Copley Drive, situated at the eastern end of the then drive-in cinema.

Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Horace Chang, is reported as having stated that a joint venture between the Government and West Indies Home Contractors Limited is in place to build housing units over the next 12 months on land at Harbour Head, which is owned by the Government.

I find the above site choice surprising as those lands were previously rejected by Minister Chang, Ministry of Housing officials, and representatives of the devastated community.

The question is whether this new plan is an initiative taken by the Government since February or merely a continuation of plans conceptualised and put in train by the previous government.

 

DEAN VICTIMS LEFT OUT

 

In either case, the victims of Hurricane Dean of 2007 (some 19 homeowners) have not been involved in this latest decision announced.

It appears that the Government is offering between $1 million and $1.5 million as a concession to reduce the cost of the proposed two-bedroom units estimated at $9.5 million. Of note is the fact that basic Caribbean Terrace homes consisted of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, living/dining, carport, and kitchen. Individual lots averaged around 7,500 square feet. In 2007, the estimated value of a basic unit was well in excess of $11 million.

As far as I am aware, acquisition of Caribbean Terrace property only relates to 2004 Hurricane Ivan victims.

I have no knowledge of the Caribbean Terrace area being rendered a no-build zone. Perhaps the minister, or your reporters, might wish to refer me to this gazetted information.

Since learning of the minister's announcement on television last week, I have contacted his office to get further information, without success.

JOHN BULLOCK

Hurricane Dean (2007) victim