BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 30, 2017–Thirty-eight years ago, in 1979, Fort George area representative Said Musa constructed two “long barracks” in Majestic Alley which served as homes for up to a hundred persons.
Last Friday, a huge fire consumed one of the barracks, leaving 51 persons displaced. The other barracks currently remains standing, but two residents, Shirley Smith and Dorla Gillett, are both asking for it to be torn down. These two women say they want their own homes.
They told us that the barracks in which they live is dilapidated and the conditions in which they are forced to live are unhealthy.
According to Smith, “We get neglect inna this alley…”
She told our newspaper that since last August, when she complained to several social agencies that there were issues with the sewer system at the barracks, no one has visited her.
She said that whenever it rains outside, she and her family feel wet in the inside of the building.
She also said that she fears that at any given moment, the cement ceiling of her lower flat could come falling down, crushing her family on impact.
Additionally, she lamented that even on a good day, whenever someone in one of the upper flats flushes their toilet, the smell of feces would linger in her lower flat.
On a bad day, feces and sewer water would erupt from her toilet and cover the floor in her living room, she said.
A flustered Smith told us that last week she called the Health authorities and told them that if they did not visit the barracks, she would go to the media, which she did today.
“We da nuh no fool. We tiad ah it. The situation weh we live inna, deh nuh healthy. When it rains outside we get wet inside. If da wa lee rain, we get wet inside. Only because they nuh come see fi we problem and when we go see them, they shun we,” she told us.
According to Smith, she has attempted to visit the Mayor and other agencies, but when it was ascertained that she was registered to vote in Fort George, a PUP stronghold, her concerns were never addressed.
“I 41 years old; I di vote from I 18 and I nuh have a house of my own. My pickni, dey get big and they still nuh have a house of their own,” she cried.
According to Gillett, her experience has been similar to Smith’s. She showed us several areas near her bedroom window where human feces can be seen flowing through the piping.
According to Gillett, she has three asthmatic children and each time it rains, she has to take them to the hospital.
The women told our newspaper that if one barracks is rebuilt, the other should be as well.