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Resolution coming for residents of ‘unsafe’ area of Gibson Corner – PM

Resolution coming for residents of ‘unsafe’ area of Gibson Corner – PM

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The four families waiting to relocate from Chrisville, Gibson Corner,{{more}} which the Government 14 years ago declared unsafe, can expect some resolution next year.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on radio last week Monday that provisions have been made in next year’s budget for the building of infrastructure in Pembroke, where the families have been allocated lands.

His comments came as he responded to a female resident of the area who telephoned during his radio consultation, ahead of the Budget next month.

“It is time that something be done to address the situation… It’s really time enough. I want to get out of up here,” the woman said.

She said people comment that the families should move out of Gibson Corner because the government has allocated lands to them in Pembroke.

But she also said there are no roads where the lands are located in Pembroke.

The woman further spoke of the overgrowth along the road in Gibson Corner, saying that the four households often pay to have it trimmed.

She told the prime minister that last month she had asked the Minister of Transportation and Works, Senator Julian Francis, to send a road crew to trim the overgrowth.

“I understand the problem and I am hoping that in this financial year that the issues will be sorted out,” Gonsalves said.

“I assure you that there will be money inside the budget,” he further stated.

“On Saturday, I went up the Ministry of Finance and I was going through the numbers and I said to the guys ‘Listen, this thing is dragging on … It’s just too long.’ So you are pushing an open door with me,” the prime minister further told the female caller.

Gonsalves further said that the Director General of Finance and Planning told him that he agreed, saying, “There must be a concerted effort this year to have this thing finished once and for all”.

Gonsalves said that the NDP administration was wrong to have sold the lands in Gibson Corner, knowing that it was slipping.

SEARCHLIGHT, in July 2010, documented the plight of the four families, who were among 28 households whose nightmare began on October 23, 1998, when heavy rains triggered earth movements that destroyed Chrisville’s dream houses.

The then NDP administration deemed the area “unsafe” and ordered residents to move.

Between the NDP and the Unity Labour Party (ULP), which came to office in 2001, residents received resettlement deals that included mortgage repayments, land, and cash.

Residents were given a choice between lands at Pembroke or at Diamond and could take with them any salvageable parts of their Gibson Corner homes.

The lands at Diamond, which were becoming a squatter village, were later regularized and all infrastructure put in place.

Four Chrisville families chose lands at Pembroke, which still do not have paved roads.

Gonsalves said his ULP has spent millions of dollars to relocate persons from Gibson Corner.

“But there is this relatively smaller part which has to be done. We can’t leave it three-quarters done,” he said, adding that he would ask Senator Francis to allocate some of the $2.5 million for road cleaning to have the road at Chrisville trimmed. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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