Bring the marines if you want to move my house, Booby Alley resident says

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The residents of Booby Alley in the Point are more than concerned about what is in store for them after they witnessed the removal of the home of long-time resident Sharon Roberts’ on Sunday evening.

“I am letting them know… straight up, for me personally, they’re going to have to bring the force, the marines and everything else he has to move my house,” said 43-year-old ‘Jah Love’, a long-time resident of the area.

“The majority of the residents in the area are upset and terrified by the nonsense our so-called representative is doing.”

The removal of Roberts’ home supposedly paved the way for the start of the much-touted Chinese-funded $100 million Bobby Alley Redevelopment project, which is being spearheaded by the community’s Parliamentary Representative, Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

“All of a sudden,” said ‘Jah Love’, “you started hearing that residents of the Booby Alley agree with [Prime Minister Browne] to move out and all kinda crap.”

He further suggested that the prime minister should use the space left by Roberts’ home to build one of the apartments so that residents may see a sample of the proposed redevelopment structure and evaluate for themselves.

Another resident who goes by the alias ‘Bounty’ said that, “right now, like the people don’t know what to do. They are in limbo.”

‘Bounty’ expressed the view that most of the residents in the area are in favour of the redevelopment plan.

“Some people are willing to move, but they don’t understand anything because they don’t know where they would be going,” he told OBSERVER media yesterday. “Consultation … tell us what you’re doing properly so we can know.

“People refuse to move because they don’t know anything. But, I know if they get a good idea of what is going on and everybody is on the same page, they would make way for progress.”

Meantime, speaking on the Voice of the People on Wednesday, the Booby Alley Project Coordinator, Hyacinth Lewis, sought to address the perceived lack of communication and consultations with the residents.

“There are approximately 98 to 100 homes in Booby Alley. I have been talking to the residents. I have gone to each home,” the project coordinator said.

Lewis said that most of the residents agreed to the redevelopment.

She said there are three options available for residents. The first option provides for a valuation of the owner’s land and structure where, once the value is agreed upon by both parties, that value will be applied to that of a new home in the redeveloped area.

The second option allows for the homeowner to be compensated after a valuation is completed, should they wish to leave the area altogether.

In option three, the government will provide assistance in providing lands elsewhere, comparable to the valuation provided for the property of the current owner.

Though residents agree, in principle, to the three options provided, the common cry from those in the area is the absence of any formal offer made to them in writing.

“We have not moved [the remaining] persons and cannot move them until we have some level of certainty and security and that has not been done, because it’s in the works,” Lewis said.

The Inland Revenue Department has been charged with conducting the property evaluations. The property evaluations must be completed before drafting the new contract agreements for the residents of Bobby Alley.

No timeline has yet been given for its completion.

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