By Theresa Goodwin
Booby Alley resident, Sharon Roberts, watched with tears in her eyes on Sunday as officials from a private company used a tractor and ropes to destroy the foundation of her home, which is to be relocated to a site in Villa Area, as the government prepares to launch a major housing project in the area.
The Lower North Street home, which provides accommodation for the family of 10, became the first to be removed from the area as it is reportedly located at the entrance of the Booby Alley community.
Roberts, who was at the centre of a major stand-off in May of this year, told our newsroom on Sunday that she was no longer prepared to resist the repeated requests from the government for her to leave.
“They have been behind us for quite some time; I cannot fight with the government, so I decided to move. They have sent all sorts of letters and I do not have any money to put up a fight,” Roberts said.
The Point resident, who has lived in the area for over 20 years, said she received the most recent notification to leave — from a government official — about two days ago.
She added that she and her family have since been given accommodation at the Joe Mike’s Hotel on Lower Nevis Street, but they had not been able to take any of their possessions except clothing for herself and her younger children.
Roberts, who is also unemployed, explained to OBSERVER media that while she had been informed that they would be staying at the hotel for two about weeks, no one has told her how she or her family will be catered for.
“My boyfriend asked the lady how we would eat; she, however, told him she has nothing to do with that. While food is sold at Joe Mike’s, suppose we do not have any money to purchase it?” Roberts said.
The mother also divulged that she was unable to remove any furniture from her home and the relevant authorities have informed her that she would be compensated for any damage to property that may result during the relocation process.
Earlier this year, there was a major stand-off between residents of Point and the police after Roberts and her family refused to accept a notice for them to vacate. The situation escalated to near-riot proportions as scores of residents converged on the area and showed their disapproval by blocking the street with furniture and other debris.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who is also the Member of Parliament for area, visited the scene of the unrest and appealed for calm, but his attempts were in vain as the residents did not hesitate to voice their outrage and most of them indicated that they felt they were being bullied into accepting eviction/relocation notices.
At the time, Roberts and her family said that they would have agreed to the move if they were being relocated to a home within the neighbourhood.