'A wonderful birthday gift'
People's NationalParty (PNP)President MarkGolding handsover the keys to ahouse built by theparty's trust fundto long-standingPNP worker inWestmoreland,Davian Hopwood,last Thursday, aday before herbirthday.(Photo: AnthonyLewis)
PNP hands over house to long-time worker

PETERSFIELD, WESTMORELAND — The long-awaited controversial house in Petersfield, Westmoreland, that was constructed through the OT Fairclough Trust Fund operated by the People's National Party (PNP), was officially handed over to its beneficiary, Davian Hopwood, last Thursday.

Hopwood, a long-standing worker for the party, told the Jamaica Observer that the gift of the house came a day before her birthday.

“I am so excited! I am feeling good, and guess what? Tomorrow is my birthday. It is a wonderful birthday gift,” said Hopwood, who is also known as Teena.

The presentation was made by PNP President Mark Golding who was on a tour of the parish. It represents the first such benefit from the trust fund first touted by Golding during his campaign for the presidency of the Opposition party last year.

The party, he had insisted, needed to look after its workers who had fallen on hard times.

On Saturday, May 29, 2021, Golding had led a block-laying exercise for the house. However, the following month a stop order was placed on the project by the PNP-controlled Westmoreland Municipal Corporation after an investigation by the corporation's building officer revealed that the house was being constructed without a building plan.

The party then submitted the necessary drawings and documents to the corporation, which passed the building plan in October.

Since then, work on the one-bedroom, one-bathroom house, which has a kitchen and a verandah, has continued in earnest. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of this week following which Hopwood is expected to occupy the house on which the PNP said it spent under $1.5 million.

Stating that he was happy to see the project nearing completion, Golding said, “Teena, I was here some months ago when we started the project and I am back now and it has really come to fruition. It makes my heart feel very, very good to see where it has come.”

He said the PNP is a caring party that will be doing what it can to assist the people.

“The People's National Party is now empowering the people and we want to show that we mean it and want to show it when we say power to the people — [we are] a caring institution, and we try to care for our own. We can't do everything that we would like to do but what we can do, we must do — and Teena, you are the first beneficiary,” Golding said.

He thanked the trustees, among them Katrin Casserly who is also chair of Hanover Charities; and Ansel Mowatt of Mowatt's Concrete Limited, which completed the construction of the house.

The fund was named after Osmond Theodore Fairclough, a co-founder of the party who was from Westmoreland.

“OT Fairclough Trust Fund was set up and endowed with some resources to help our party workers who need assistance, and it is only fitting that a Comrade party worker from this division, Petersfield in Westmoreland, was chosen to be the first beneficiary. It is a big project for the trust fund to do and it needed help from others,” stated Golding.

Hopwood, who does hair braiding to earn a living, started constructing the house five years ago but was unable to complete it.

A party activist since 1997, she lost her mother at the age of 11 and has been living with her grandmother since then with her five children.

Hopwood told the Observer that she was never doubtful about the house being completed.

“I did not feel hopeless, you know. I just leave everything to God; I was waiting on the Almighty to pull everything through,” she said.

Councillor Patrick Forrester (PNP, Petersfield Division), who was instrumental in the project, described the house as “a Christmas gift of a lifetime”.

“Comrade Teena... you have been working all your life on behalf of the People's National Party. Continue the good work. This is to show that the People's National Party cares about people,” he said.

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer

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