Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Have a heart for Mona Commoners

Published:Wednesday | February 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM


1. Employment in the rebuilding of Irvine Hall at the University of the West Indies (UWI) is not going right, even after representation made through Director of Security Keith Gardener. Some 20 young men, under a very competent older leader, made their way to him for help and got it. He made sure they received application forms, which six of them filled out with their leader's assistance and submitted. But only one got a few hours of work.

The story is that the Chinese firm putting up the new Irvine Hall - and I am not touching that issue here - is using Chinese labourers. Their contractors are also bringing in labourers from as far away as Spanish Town, Old Harbour and St Mary. But nearby Mona Common men who want pickaxe and shovel work can't get it. UWI administrators cannot stand by and allow this.

2. UWI administrators have another responsibility. If they are planning some reorganisation of Mona Common, as has been reported in the press, they need to share their plans, its chief components at least, with Mona Common people. They can't be having their agents measuring roads and boundaries without telling the people there what is about to happen. One resident angrily chased such an agent from his gate for that reason.

It is demeaning to the people of Mona Common to have such decisions being taken over their heads and without their knowledge and involvement. Don't tell me that it's because they are squatters on state land. They have been there, most of them, a very long time. They are humans. They actually have rights.