Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
Even as he sates people's thirst and hunger at his East Street fruit stall in downtown Kingston, Donald Campbell is not a happy man.
That's because after he packs away his handcart, he goes home to a tent dwelling. 'Caney', his nickname (sugar cane is one of the items he sells), was one of the many residents evicted from modest dwellings on Duke Street on August 17.
He 'parks' his handcart at a workshop on Little North Street because he has nowhere to keep it in the yard now. But that doesn't stop him from making an honest living. Those who don't know him would never guess that he has no solid structure to call home. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management provided the tents and Campbell said though he was grateful for the assistance received so far, the recent rains associated with Tropical Storm Isaac didn't help their situation.
"A pure water, man. Di place did mud up," he lamented. Campbell said he has lived there for more than 30 years and said the people were still confused about one specific matter. They are contending that the alleged landowners have bought the lot beside where they live. That address, he says, is 120 Duke Street.
"We nuh see nutten whe say dem own whe we deh at 118," he said.
He said they hope to get positive word from a lawyer who has taken up their case. Food For The Poor (FFP) has committed to providing houses for them and said those individuals with land who could prove ownership would receive assistance. But Campbell laughed at that.
"If we did have land, we wouldn't be living pon people land, bredda. If a even sumting small, wi woulda build on that 'cause it would be ours," he said. During a recent meeting with West Kingston Member of Parliament Desmond McKenzie, Campbell said they were told two areas of land were identified for them. The first is on Rose Lane, close to Hannah Town, the other near the Tivoli High School, where there is an old Public Works Department site.
"We nuh hear nutten like whether di place dem start build or what because dem say di tent dem haffi tek up afta 30 days," he said. While the deadline edges closer, he is worried. If the FFP houses come through, Campbell said he hoped to get one of the Rose Lane spots because it's closer to his spot.
"But mi wi tek anyting. If is even a one room, likkle kitchen and bathroom. Just so mi can still set up mi stall."