SHEER JOY! - Portland's indigent grateful for Gov't housing

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SHEER JOY! - Portland's indigent grateful for Gov't housing

BY EVERARD OWEN
Observer writer

Monday, January 20, 2020

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TWO Portland couples are to receive houses valued at approximately $5 million from the Government after their poor living conditions were brought to the attention of Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.

The announcement was made during a ground-breaking ceremony two Tuesdays ago at Anchovy Land Settlement in Portland by McKenzie.

The houses are to be built within the next two months.

The beneficiaries are Rose and Devon Montague of Anchovy Land Settlement, and Hazel and Everald Gibson of Long Road in the parish.

During his contribution to the 2018-19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives in May 2018, the minister had said that 28 houses would be built for indigent persons across the island at a cost of $52 million.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, the minister disclosed that, already, 27 units have been built for indigent families across the country.

“This one in Anchovy and the other one that we will go to later in Long Road will bring the number to 29. We are going to be targeting the parish of Westmoreland and St Elizabeth this year to put in an additional four more houses in the programme. We are hoping that at the end of the financial year we will put in another four, so we will end the financial year with about 35 indigent houses.

“We are spending some good money in Portland. We are spending over $40 million to build a brand new male ward at the infirmary in Port Antonio. There are roads that we are committed to fixing. We will continue to improve the infrastructure for those who are in need. I want this unit to be completed in two months, and this unit and the other will cost $4.6 million. The units will be equipped with a bed, stove and other amenities as we are giving them a start,” McKenzie said at Anchovy Land settlement.

Over at Long Road where the house for Gibson, who served in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and his wife Hazel will be built, McKenzie said it was only right that a house is built for the former military man who gave service to the country.

“I was told that Mr Gibson served in the Jamaica Defence Force, so Mr Gibson in his younger days gave tremendous service to this country in the field of security. He is 79 and has not been rewarded or lived in a way that is affordable to someone who has served their country in the military. There are many Jamaicans, hundreds of Jamaicans, who are in a similar or worse situation than Mr Gibson. We are going to be building for the Gibson's a 300 square feet studio unit. This unit is going to come with the following features: bathroom and toilet all in one, kitchen, dining room, a bedroom and a 1000-gallon water tank,” said McKenzie.

He said the unit is expected to cost just over $2 million.

“This is a part of the Government's acknowledgement and appreciation of your work when you and your wife were strong to contribute to the growth and development of this country. We are doing this so that you and your wife can understand and appreciate that there is a caring government, caring representatives that remember what you did for this country — and we are proud of you and your wife who has stood by you for over 50 years,” he said.

In response, Gibson said that he was pleased with McKenzie's announcement.

“I am elated and love everything about it. I was with the JDF in the sixties (1960s) then I worked in Spanish Town after that. I left and came here to live and I am thankful for this gift,” he said.

His wife Hazel said that she could not find the words to express her gratitude for the unit.

“I am very proud and honoured for this day and I thank all the persons very much,” the 75-year-old woman said.

Like Gibson and his wife, Montague was elated.

“It is a long time mi waiting. Nuff rain, nuff sun, nuff fire mi pass through but mi never give up. I'm thankful to Mrs Ann-Marie Vaz the MP (member of parliament) and the Mayor Mr Paul Thompson. I am happy for this house,” he said smiling.


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