Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Vaz vows to help residents of Diamond

Published:Sunday | June 4, 2017 | 6:00 AM
Austin Duncan inside his house in the squatter community of Diamond in Buff Bay, Portland.

Member of Parliament for West Portland Daryl Vaz has vowed to make help for the residents of Diamond a priority, despite the many other demands for assistance from residents in his constituency.

The MP told The Sunday Gleaner that while it is difficult to help the people of Diamond, their plight is one that needs to be addressed.

"Because of the security and risk for the children, it is something that is definitely going to be looked at by me regardless of political persuasion," said Vaz of the community which has traditional not favoured him with their votes.

"They have been there for anywhere between 30 and 40 years on average, and most important, it is a squatter settlement. Regardless of political persuasion, it puts a responsible MP in a very difficult position.

"There is no way that, based on the dangers that exist, especially to young children, you can condone squatting in an area such as that. Therefore, anything that you do to assist them, you would be aiding and abetting a situation that is untenable," added Vaz.

He said there are communities in his West Portland constituency where residents need to be relocated, but this is not an easy task to achieve.

"I have had preliminary discussions with the prime minister as it relates to the very same Food For The Poor programme. Due to the geographical landscape of my constituency, rather than doing single Food For The Poor houses scattered around the constituency if we could look at seeing how we could cluster and put on the infrastructure to support it in specific areas that already have the services.

"That is something that I am pursuing, not necessarily for Diamond, but situations like Diamond. We mainly have these areas in and around the Buff Bay area," said Vaz.

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com