Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Pay up CHEC! - Mammee Bay residents demand compensation after their houses were damaged during road construction

Published:Sunday | August 28, 2016 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist
Zeporah Watkis showing one of the cracks in the wall of her family house in Mammee Bay, St Ann.
Curtis Stewart is urging CHEC to make compensation now for the structural damages to his house allegedly caused by work on the North-South Highway.

Several residents in Mammee Bay, St Ann, whose properties were allegedly damaged by blasting activities during the construction of the North-South highway, are still waiting for compensation from the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), more than one year later.

Seventy-three-year-old Curtis Stewart, whose one-bedroom house at Lot 96, Mammee Bay South, suffered several cracked walls as a result of the blasting, said CHEC has made promises of compensation but he is unsure when that will be done.

"I don't know what they are doing, dem say dem going compensate. I don't know if dem going pay fi di damage or come fix it, but nutten nuh happen," Stewart told The Sunday Gleaner.




According to Stewart, a shift between two joined walls has left a gap that causes flooding in his bedroom whenever it rains.

"When the rain fall, the whole a inna that back room flood out. Dem come and tek picture, them gimme one pink slip, seh if anything, mi mus call dem 'cause dem going gimme some compensation.

"Mi call dem twice, dem say dem a look 'bout some business, dem nuh ready fi dis yet, dem nuh ready fi dat. Ah don't know wha dem nuh ready fa."

Stewart said the damage occurred around the middle of last year and the team from CHEC visited his property a couple of months later.

Neither party has done an estimate of the damage, but the elderly man said he wants the company to pay for the damage.

"I would like dem pay me fi it and let me fix it myself. I can't wait no longer."

Another resident of Mammee Bay South, 19-year-old Zeporah Watkis, said the situation regarding her family house is the same as Stewart's.

"I get some cracking on the wall and over the door top and the bathroom wall," said Watkis.

"Some people come to check to see if anything got damaged, dem tek some picture an' write dung what damage an' tell wi dem a go come back and we don't see dem come back," said Watkis.

"I'm waiting on dem to come back. If dem can't fix it, dem pay we."

She said her family was also given a pink slip and phone numbers to call the company.

Mayor of St Ann's Bay Desmond Gilmore told a recent Gleaner forum that he has been trying to secure the compensation for some residents whose property was damaged during the construction of the highway.

According to Gilmore, while the company has provided compensation for some residents, others are still waiting.