Mixed Reactions to Forum Beach Removal
THE REMOVAL of residents from the Forum Beach in Portmore, St Catherine, by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has turned out to be a blessing for one resident.
Dhamia, mother of four, who was a resident at the site, said it was always her desire to live somewhere else, but circumstances prevented her.
"You wouldn't understand how rough this has been for me. I have been living here about five years now and it certainly is not conducive to a good living environment, especially for my children, but nothing happens before the time and I see this as a blessing," she declared.
"I saw this coming a long time ago and even though I am not in agreement with all the conditions (from UDC), I won't be one of them to sit around and complain. If you can't deal with the system, you leave it alone; that's how I see it," said Dhamia, who is currently unemployed.
The UDC warned the occupiers of the beach to remove all their belongings and temporary structures from the property by midnight on Wednesday.
The corporation had said it would be clearing the beach of all the structures, starting Thursday, and would not be responsible for any damage or loss of property.
This move by the UDC, however, was very bad news for Claude Baker, another resident, among several other occupants, who noted that they have been left desolate.
"I think a tree going to be my bed for a very long time," Baker remarked while removing several household appliances.
"I really have nowhere to stay, mi nuh know what is going to happen, but I have to keep strong and put the best outside," he said.
A fisherman, who gave his name as Francis, said the future looked dismal.
"Tears come to my eyes when mi see how dem treat us. The place that we are suppose to be going, there is no water, no bathroom and we are talking about food and people's health," he lamented.
Communications manager at the UDC, Tyrell Morgan, pointed out that it was a successful day.
"It was a smooth process and I believe we had numerous consultations which resulted in a participatory event. We not just issued notices, but we actually went on site and provided vehicles to help them," Morgan told The Gleaner.
"We provided the foundation and stipulations that guided their construction at the new site. We actually have staff on location who are ensuring that they adjust very quickly. Things are not perfect, but we expect that there will be progress as we move forward," he said.