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May 17, 2012

Hurricane Richard stories of displacement continue

An elderly man from Hattieville is turning to the media hoping to get attention to his plight. The seventy year-old man was in prison when Hurricane Richard damaged his house in 2010. Rupert Flowers’ house was evaluated for assistance during the hurricane reconstruction program, but he claims the replacement house was taken to the property of a couple that he had allowed to live in his house while he served time. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.


Delahnie Bain, Reporting

An elderly Hattieville resident is homeless and in need of urgent assistance. Seventy year old Rupert Flowers was in prison for three years, for a crime he maintains he didn’t commit, but while behind bars his house was destroyed by Hurricane Richard in October 2010. And according to Flowers, NEMO provided a replacement house, but it was snatched up by someone else.


Rupert Flowers

Rupert Flowers, Homeless

“I went to jail, the hurricane came and blew the top of the house off. While I was in jail, I had some people stay in the house for free. They didn’t have anywhere to live and I gave them the house to stay for free; just to keep the house and the land clean you know. And while I was in jail, Hurricane Richard came and blow. The people that—a house came for me, the owner of the property but the people instead of putting the house on my property they took it somewhere else.”


Hubert Elrington Jr., Hattieville Resident

“What happen is that NEMO was up here after the hurricane. Mr. Philip Waight came with me because ih couldn’t find di chairman nowhere and ih tell me dat how di house get too damaged and he wah have to get wah house. Di house, when di time fi share out di house di chairman tek it and gone give ih nephew di house and put it pan ih land. Dat dah weh happen.”


Hubert Elrington Jr.

Both Flowers and his neighbor, Hubert Elrington Junior say they have been unable to get him assistance from the village chairman and NEMO.


Rupert Flowers

“Now I’m out of jail, I’m homeless I really need some aid and I don’t see any aid forthcoming. I tried all the avenues that I could. I call NEMO, I call different people and I couldn’t get no direct answer. So I wish if anybody out there who is seeing this interview, if they could give me some help, give me some real aid because right now I’m tired of staying with people, begging lodging.”


Hubert Elrington Jr.

“I went to there several times, I talk to the PS, I talk to several people dah Belmopan eena big position; dehn wah look into it, dehn call ah and tell ah I di seh dis, I di seh dat. But di chairman need fi go because noh di do nothing.”


Rupert Flowers

“Whenever we do see each other, he’s always on that movement you know because I’m old and can’t get around on my own so they just push me off, they don’t do nothing for me.”


Flowers hopes that making his story public will finally get him some help.


Rupert Flowers

“I remember the prime minister has said that every house would be replaced and I guess he did and the people did their part but I still have no house, I still have nothing and the condition of my house, as you all would see, I really, really need some help. If anybody could help, the minister or whoever could, or is willing to help. I don’t even have a phone number that I could give to call.”


All his belongings from inside the house were also nowhere to be found. Delahnie Bain for News Five.


Village Chairman, Gilbert Domingo was in Belmopan today, but told News Five by phone that the woman who was living in Flowers’ house was taking care of him before he went to prison. According to Domingo, she moved out before the hurricane because the house was not strong enough. He says the council lobbied with NEMO to get houses for twenty-four persons, but only eight came through and they were told that only displaced persons would be assisted and not necessarily homeowners. Domingo emphasized that he had no control over who received houses and that the house ended up on his property because his nephew, who was dating Flowers’ caretaker, begged him to let them use the lot. He further claims that Flowers has not approached him for assistance, but says he will do whatever he can to help him. 

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