Rhone Park Estate: a new homeowner's nightmare
Rhone Park Estate
Old Harbour, St Catherine
In light of the recent fire that transpired Thursday, September 13, in the Rhone Park Estate development scheme, I write this letter out of grave concern for my safety, as well as that of my family.
The scheme, located in Old Harbour under the development of Mr Norman Horne of ARC, is a new homeowner's nightmare. I say this because of the lack of professionalism in workmanship that has been plaguing the residents of the scheme from the date we moved in to now.
According to our sales agreement, we are to make clear any issues with our homes within a set time frame for same to be resolved. To date, I have issues still pending and, unfortunately, a neighbour has lost all her belongings and her home to what seems like an electrical problem.
Upon leaving the scheme on Friday, September 14, a CVM news team was there filming the scene. Electrical problems are but one of the issues affecting this scheme. In some houses, once you turn on your ceiling fans, you can hear and see gashes from the switch, which has been referred to ARC in previous emails.
From cracks in the houses, light flickering, to fixtures falling apart, to begging for top soil, shabby roadwork that leaves rainwater backing up. And the big whopper, of course, is our recreational area, which has turned into a biodigester. So instead of jointly owning a recreational area, the residents are now proud owners of our sewage system.
I am tired of calling and writing Mr Horne and his staff. The level of disrespect, in terms of neglect, is appalling. How could ARC feel good about the condition that this scheme is in?
Wall cracks have had to be plastered over.
Robins Bay water woes driving residents up the wall
Robins Bay/Strawberry Fields
We each have a house by Strawberry Fields and, since April 2012, we are hardly ever getting water. Although we are complaining to the National Water Commission (NWC) customer service almost on a daily basis, speaking to supervisors and regional managers, there has been no improvement.
The Robins Bay/Strawberry Fields area has multiple leaks on the main pipe, which we reported to the NWC, without seeing repair work done.
As far as we know, we are supposed to get water three times a week for 12 hours. We can see, by watching the leaks, that water is in our region once a week for a few hours, much too little to ever reach Strawberry Fields, which is at the end of the main water pipe.
Apart from us, there is a community of property owners here in Strawberry Fields who bought lots in recent years. Some already have water connections by the NWC and some are intending to get one. Those people, many from abroad and returning residents, spent a good amount of money to buy their property and build houses, and would improve the general outlook of the area of Robins Bay/Strawberry Fields.
But without regular water supply, there is absolutely no way that this area could improve, as many of the property owners are thinking of reselling because of the water situation.
Customer No. 1186912; Premises No. 1186902
Customer No. 1345395; Premises No. 1345385
Pulled over, plates seized: Motorists being used to fill coffers?
Salt Hill, Content Gap
East Rural St Andrew
On Friday afternoon, August 24, as we were accompanying our family to catch a flight at the Norman Manley International Airport, we were stopped by a policeman and instructed to pull over into an abandoned gas station.
There was no apparent reason, as we had not been speeding; but we complied. Our vehicle was then subjected to a 'random fitness check' by an inspector from one of the motor vehicle examination depots, as part of an 'operation' seemingly set up by both blue- and red-seam police.
After the examination, just as we thought, the inspector was about to return our documents to us, he suddenly looked down and declared that our left front tyre was defective. Without further ado, he instructed that the licence plates be removed immediately and a traffic ticket and certificate of defect issued.
We were assured that we could drive for 24 hours without plates; but were still completely taken aback by this drastic action, as we were indeed in possession of a valid certificate of fitness.
The following Monday, having paid the fines (amounting to $12,700) and replaced the defective tyre ($11,000), we were issued a certificate of defect remedied, and told we could retrieve our licence plates at the Elletson Road Police Station. After two unsuccessful visits and several phone calls, and to no fewer than four other local police stations, and also to both examination depots to try to locate the plates, we finally learned (from a very helpful gentleman at the Transport Authority) that they were at the Island Special Constabulary Force headquarters at Harman Barracks.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
We finally retrieved the plates on September 4, after further delay, once the inspector was able to locate the key to the room where they were being kept.
As instructed, I attempted to turn in the certificate of defect remedied to the Kingston collectorate in order to "remove the ban on the licence plates", but was told that the original certificate of defect had not yet been logged into the system and, this would not be done for a couple more months, I was told I should simply keep this document with the other car papers. So what was the point?
This was, to say the least, a very untidy operation and, I have been since reliably informed, also an illegal one. Inspections of vehicles should only be carried out at authorised depots. I consider this type of behaviour, therefore, to be pure harassment. If the tyre was, indeed, defective, as a motorist, it was my duty to replace it in a timely manner.
We should have been given an opportunity to remedy the situation that afternoon, considering that we were in possession of a valid certificate of fitness.
Are people being pulled over with a view to making our roads safer, or are we pawns in a quota-driven game to fill the country's coffers? What is the sense in having a fine imposed and also having one's licence plates removed?
What can another law-abiding citizen, one who is barely eking out an existence, do in such a situation, if he or she is fined and also deprived of his means of transportation?
There must be methods of ensuring compliance other than stopping people for illegal on-the-spot inspections, removing plates, and causing drama and frustration.
And finally, what sanctions can be imposed on the officers involved in these ongoing 'illegal' operations?
Declare Jamaica a bird sanctuary
MAJOR JOHNATHAN LAMEY (JP)
President, Portland Environmental Protection Association
I read with a heavy heart the notice put out by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) regarding the 2012 bird-shooting season. Not only did my heart really go out for the poor little harmless birds that will fall prey of these 'wicked rich shottas', but my mind reflected on the days when notices similar to this were placed in other print media and elsewhere regarding hunting so-called 'Negro slaves' for a paltry fee.
The hunt was for those who had no voice or say in their destiny; same as it is for the innocent little birds who only want to live, raise their own 'families' and, in the process, pollinate the plants along with the bees, propagate certain plant seeds by scarifying them in their digestive systems to enhance their germination (pimento seeds are so done by the dove species that are on the published list by NEPA to be hunted and killed) - all this to benefit humans.
The Wild Life and Protection Act must be amended to protect these little feathered creatures, most of which are migratory birds escaping the harsh weather conditions from North America and elsewhere. If the entire island of Jamaica is declared a bird sanctuary, it will not only protect our species of birds, but it could mean more tourist dollars for our cash-strapped country.
The Ornithology Society will tell you that birdwatching is a multimillion-dollar industry and pastime. Bird shooting, on the other hand, brings in unwanted weaponry that often fuels crime (many legal firearms are stolen and thus end up in the wrong hands!).
Many visitors to our beautiful island might be encouraged to return at a particular time of the year just to watch their favourite bird species. Why not add birdwatching to our list of attractions for both Jamaicans and visitors alike? The only tools that might be required are a pair of binoculars and a camera!
The notice issued by NEPA not only stated the various doves that can be killed, but stated the time when these 'legal gunmen' can carry out their acts of violence; for example, "from sunrise to 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to sunset on Saturdays, and from sunrise to 9 a.m. on Sundays." Does NEPA realise that many hard-working Jamaicans who toil from Monday to Friday are still in bed up to 9 a.m. on weekends?
The sad thing is, these 'shottas' don't kill the birds for food, but, in the name of so-called 'fun'. What is this teaching them to do later? To hold no respect for life and to wantonly snuff out lives for the sake of fun?
And what are the pellets from the bullets doing to our surface and underground water supply? Has NEPA carried out a study on this? What about the safety of innocent campers, joggers and hikers who might be in the affected area?
Let us urge NEPA to get in high gear to promulgate plans for phasing out the bird-killing season and, instead, herald in the birdwatching season, which is safe to all and is ecologically friendly.
Fix and cover open Spanish Town drains, Mr Mayor
Very Upset Parent
Spanish Town, St Catherine
This is an open letter to the mayor of Spanish Town, Norman Scott.
I am writing this letter on behalf of my daughter who fell into an open drain on a sidewalk and was injured in the process.
In the late evening of Thursday September 13, 2012, she was on her way home after a heavy downpour in Spanish Town. Just across from the bus/taxi park and in the vicinity of the second mini plaza complex, she was walking on the sidewalk when she suddenly fell, chest first, to the ground.
Her right leg had gone into the open drain filled with dirty, black water. She was assisted by a passer-by who helped her out of the hole. She was soaked from the chest down, her jeans pants ripped, revealing a long gash/cut of about four inches on her right shin (see accompanying photos). There was also a large bruise on her left, upper leg and scrapes on her left elbow and she later had to seek medical attention.
Recently, on television, there was an incident of a student falling into one of those drains and tales of many others experiencing this horror. When will these drains be fixed or properly covered? Are we to await a fatality before anything is done?
Just seeing the kind of water and garbage that run through these drains is enough to make your skin crawl, so can you then imagine being immersed in this water? I am so upset!
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