Manchester fire victim grateful for new houseSunday, July 25, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
May 5, 2021 is a day that Ucal Sinclair will never forget.
On that day, fire gutted the house of the 60-year-old on Perth Drive in the Manchester parish capital of Mandeville, forcing him to seek shelter under a tarpaulin which he tied to a banana tree, mere metres from where his house once was.
Today, Sinclair is grateful, because with the help of several groups, businesses and his church family, he has received a new house which was constructed over the last two months.
“Mi feel better, because mi was desperate. Everything did burn out, so with this weh mi get mi feel grateful towards it. Mi feel good and nah wet up,” he told the Jamaica Observer last Wednesday.
“Mi did under a little grass root, under deh suh. Mi did put up tarpaulin and two sheets of zinc,” he added in reference to what was his makeshift shelter after the fire.
He thanked all who came on board to assist in building the one-bedroom unit with a bathroom and kitchen.
The unit is almost complete with only minor work left to be done including roof sealing, partitioning, guttering and the installation of a water tank.
“Mi affi give thanks to mi neighbour, the church and plenty people. Mi give thank and gratefulness to all a who made this possible for me. Give thanks to Councillor (Jones) Oliphant, him jump round and help do a lot for me,” said Sinclair.
Alfred Daley, who spearheaded the building of the house, said the Manchester Development Area Committee and the Wesley Methodist Church Men's Fellowship contributed towards the project.
“There was great collaboration between the committee and the church as well as the Mandeville community which contributed, because we appealed to a number of businesses. About six business places made contributions of lumber, zinc, tiles and a number of other items,” Daley explained.
“It is a tremendous thing [as to] the way the community really supported [Sinclair]. There were persons who provided money, material and labour. There were others who visited him and gave him comfort by talking to him and items,” added Daley.
He said the Social Development Commission has been assisting Sinclair to recover his important documents.
“They are assisting him with getting back things like his birth certificate and have been helping him to gain other resources,” he said.
He is thankful for the partnership between groups in building the house for Sinclair and other fire victims with this being the third project for the committee.
“It shows that there are actually organisations that do respond, because this is the third project by the Mandeville Development Area Committee. There was a case in Somerset in 2019 where the house for a family of five was totally destroyed and we spearheaded the effort to rebuild it. The other project was in Old England where the community built the house and we solicited funds,” Dailey said.
Food for the Poor Jamaica donated a dresser, two chairs and a gas stove to Sinclair.
Councillor Oliphant commended Daley and others including the business community for the collaborative effort in building the house.
“We had a tremendous outpouring of love and caring from the Mandeville business community. In addition to that, Patrick Walker, Alfred Daley and Mr Forrester...these were the chief men who were the builders. In the space of one month, the man (Sinclair) was able to sleep in his house. I think this was tremendous,” said Oliphant.