Story by RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT
The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is said to be investigating reports that alleged gang members have chased a mother, her son and daughter away from their respective HDC apartments at the Trou Macaque Apartments Complex in Laventille.
Confirmation of the probe was given to Guardian Media today by the HDC’s Corporate Communications Manager Dike Noel, who said HDC is looking into the matter and will contact the affected family soon.
Speaking with Guardian Media, the woman said she spent three years living in fear and was forced to pay rent of $2,000 at another location —a far cry from the family’s original HDC rent of $100 per month per apartment.
The 63-year-old woman said she is very fearful for her life and the lives of her children and has reached a point of desperation and cannot wait any longer for her request for a relocation to pull through.
She recalls that she went to the HDC "countless" times, begging for relocation. She alleges, however, that relocation was granted to her on two occasions but with a "big problem".
"They gave me relocation twice,” she said, “but I was told that there were illegal tenants and that the HDC was currently waiting on the police to help them deal with the situation. Since then, I have heard nothing from them, so I do not know where my relocation status stands," the woman said.
The distraught mother said three years ago, there was an incident in which criminal elements in the area pointed fingers at her, accusing her of being a police informant. She reports that since then, her apartment was shot up several times by gunmen, forcing her to abandon it, and get another place to rent in another area to call home.
She said her son and daughter were forced at gunpoint by alleged gang members to leave their respective apartments, as they are said to have now taken up residence.
"The HDC knows all this and still, nothing is being done for us. It is very hard now for my son and I to pay our current rent of $2,000 and we would like to get back HDC apartments where it is more affordable for us. But this time we need to be safe—to be relocated somewhere safe." the woman said.
The HDC says it is investigating the matter.