Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Harold Lovell is of the opinion that there has been some mismanagement regarding the ongoing Booby Alley Project.
Lovell says that although he doesn’t oppose the project, there is some mistrust being seen by the public over the urban renewal project, more so the relocation of residents.
The project has seen its bit of controversy as just three years ago residents of Booby Alley took to the streets in Point refusing to move. They even accused the government, and more so, the Parliamentary Representative Prime Minister Gaston Browne, of wanting to remove them from their homes to gain access to the prestige real estate which is just a few steps away from the port.
Although that matter has been resolved there has still been some chatter and concern shared by some members of the public over the project, as many believe the residents will not return to the modern dwellings once completed.
It is because of these concerns that Lovell is making the case that the mismanagement aided the mistrust dwelling in public circles.
“If it as good as it being proclaimed, why is there is such a negative pushback? It has to do with how the process is being managed. Nobody opposes the improvement in the lives of people, but I think what most people are concerned about is whether or not they have been given a water tight assurance that they will be going back to that area close to the harbour which most people see as potential for prime real estate, and I think that’s where people have that concern as to whether or not they will be going back, and they suspect that there may be other motives, and I think therefore, how you manage it and how you handle it is very important,” Lovell said.
“At the end of the day everything comes down to trust. If people trust you there is no problem, but when people don’t trust you then obviously, there is going to be a problem and so here there seems to be a problem with trust and a problem with the way the whole thing has been managed.”
The relocation stage is a major part of the redevelopment plan which will see the structural and environmental rehabilitation of Booby Alley, where 150 new houses will be built, thanks to a grant from the Chinese government.
In October 2018, the government accepted a grant from China to construct 250 homes in total.
A further 50 will be in Bolans and 50 in Barbuda.
Just this week, 12 families received keys to their temporary homes on Bay Street Villa and all remaining Booby Alley residents are set to be relocated within three weeks to make way for the massive regeneration project to parts of Point.
Construction of temporary homes is still underway in Villa to house some residents, while others have been placed into private buildings or have had their homes which were in good repair moved to vacant lots.
An exact date for when work for building the new permanent homes will begin has not yet been given, but officials estimate the properties will take two years to construct.