PM to continue dialogue with Booby Alley residents following riot

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne plans to hold further dialogue with residents of the Booby Alley area, after a public riot at lower North Street on Friday.

Residents of the Villa and Point communities barricaded the street in solidarity with their neighbor, Sharon Roberts, who they believed was being forced out of her home by the government.

The Prime Minister said he plans to hold a meeting with residents this Saturday to address any new concerns over the future redevelopment of the area.

“I have a consultation planned for this Saturday with them to deal with the new issues that would have arisen and to reassure them that there will no dislocation,” he said.

Browne reiterated that the Booby Alley project was done “out of love” by the government, which has not done anything wrong. “Even the political activists will say that we cannot continue to have the level of underdevelopment in the area; the area represents a health risk, fire risk and it would be carnage if a Category 5 hurricane hits the area,” he said.

The Prime Minister also addressed claims that Roberts and her family were targeted over a personal dispute with a local bar, stating that the family was well aware of – and had agreed to – the move beforehand.

“They agreed previously; the letter [dated April 10] was only sent after the APUA initially went to cut off the electricity and they had an issue. She subsequently signed an agreement to move last Friday,” he said.

Meanwhile, the political leader of the United Progressive Party, Harold Lovell, said while he was supportive of the planned development in principle, the administration appeared to have a credibility issue with the community.

“Gaston Browne is not just a politician, Member of Parliament for the area, but the Prime Minister, and you see the type of reception he got [on Friday],” Lovell said.

“You tell people that you are removing them from abject conditions, but they respond in a hostile way; it is either they do not believe you, or you have not been able to successfully sit down with them.”

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