Porto Bello residents living without basic amenities
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:With Christmas a matter of days away, residents of the Porto Bello Estates housing development in Montego Bay, St James, may have to endure the festive season without potable water or street lights that were promised.
The 63 families that have settled in homes within the 91-lot private housing development say things cannot continue as they are and are urging the developers, Seal Construction Company, to find a remedy for their worries.
"This cannot continue any longer," said resident Cheryl Marshall. "Nobody can live without water, and our contracts stated a number of provisions that we have not received, including piped water, street lights, and a water heater. We still haven't got any of the three. Yet, we are paying mortgage on our houses and the developers seem to care little that we are suffering," she said.
"All we want is for them to take us seriously - install the lights and water heater they said we would have got and fix the water problem. We are paying mortgages for our homes, and they are failing to uphold their end of the bargain. It is unfair for them to simply ignore their own contractual arrangement with us. It has been too long now and we are still in the same position. It cannot continue like this at all. We need someone to come and talk with us. We are living in danger," added Marshall.
The residents say they are further concerned that at a time when personal security and health issues ring uppermost in the minds of many Jamaicans, they are being made to put up with what they regard as the "slackness of the developers".
absence of street lights
Another irate resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told Western Focus that the absence of street lights is further driving fear, as historically, in some parts of Jamaica, the number of break-ins and robberies increases during the Yuletide season.
"We are very concerned because at night, it gets really dark here and there are children around. I have a small daughter, and if it weren't for the fact I drive, I would be even more afraid," another of the residents, Dereka Cosswell, said.
The Porto Bello homeowners say none of the houses in the scheme were provided with independent water meters. Instead, they were all connected to a single commercial water meter and instructed to make payments on that bill or face disconnection. As a result, many householders have to rely mainly on the use of water tanks, while others have even resorted to the illegal extraction of water to satisfy their daily needs.
Some residents who say they have paid their part of the huge water bill say they are still without the commodity as some of their neighbours have failed to pay, resulting in the service being disconnected.
"We are not thieves. We are decent hard-working people who happen to reside in a place where those with authority are only willing to do nothing while we suffer. Not even trucked water we getting around here. What are we to do?" one resident, who said she was the mother of one, told Western Focus.
When Western Focus visited the company's Lower Bevin Avenue-based office earlier this week, representatives there promised to get in touch with the principals of the company for them to provide an official reply as they were out of office.
There was no response from the company up till press time.