Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Family living in danger zone
A father of three, who has been waiting for ten years for a government house, is now living in fear that his home could crumble beneath him. Infested with termites, the four-bedroom wooden house at Papourie Road, Duncan Village, San Fernando, is on the verge of collapse. A portion of the gallery has already broken off.
Mahadeo Ramlakhan, 49, a helper with Tucker Energy Services, has been living in the house with his common-law wife Sabita Ramoutar, 39; stepdaughter Carol Lutchmansingh, 17; and daughters Vaniah, two; and Mariah, five. Ramlakhan said he visited Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal at his Debe constituency office on two occasions and Moonilal had promised to help him. “I still waiting. Any time now this house could collapse,” he said. “I am willing. I not begging for anything free.”
Pointing to the discoloured and swollen plywood ceiling in the living room area, Ramoutar said: “The house like a rice strainer, everywhere is leak when it rains. “For Christmas we could not even stay here. Everything get wet, including the Christmas tree.” Two of the bedrooms have been condemned because of the deplorable condition of the ceiling, which has holes of varying sizes. Another problem is bat droppings on the ceiling, which fall inside the house.
“I seal off the ceiling in the bedroom and the kitchen with plastic but I don’t know how long that will hold for.” Describing the house as a danger zone, she said there are also holes in the flooring and in the walls in one of the bedrooms. The family is also being plagued by an ant infestation. “I could show you my second daughter’s skin where the ants bite her. I don’t know where they coming from.”
On the advice of Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, she said, she attached a letter he gave her to photos of the house and other documents and sent them to HDC’s managing director Jearlean John last year. But to date she has received no response. Ramoutar said the house belongs to her relatives, who are abroad, so she cannot undertake any major repairs to it. When contacted yesterday, John promised to look into the matter to see what could be done.