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Dec 19, 2017

Area Rep, Long Barracks Residents at War over a Home for the Holidays

A new home for the holidays is a wish for many at this time of the year. With space a scarce commodity in the Old Capital, any initiative to provide shelter is welcomed. But residents of a ‘long barracks’ property scheduled to be torn down are up in arms tonight, because they feel their area representative, Pickstock’s Wilfred Elrington, is leaving them without a safety net while turning around and serving other constituents with their piece, however small, of the Jewel. He says they have nothing to worry about, but that did not stop them from venting to News Five’s Aaron Humes, who has both sides of the story in this report.

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Area Rep., Pickstock

“The resources to build the building that is there, that they need to vacate, is still slated to be built for them. When they come out, we will build it for them, and put them right back in there. But it is what I like to call the ‘Anansi’ syndrome in Belize: they don’t want to cooperate, but they want to make bad.”


Natalie Adolphus, Long Barracks Resident

“I am not only talking for me; I di talk for everybody. All dehn children on this barracks – this is the only home they know, from the day they come out of their mother’s womb, this is the only home they know. We no got no security, this house is well damaged fi mek he come and put different people in front of us. It is not right! It is not right!”


Aaron Humes, Reporting

By all accounts, mother of four Natalie Adolphus and her fellow residents of this dilapidated ‘long barracks’ on Oleander Street in Belize City feel they should have been moving into this spanking new apartment complex sitting on top of them for the Christmas, after being asked to move out a few months ago. The fact is, however, that they are not, and the blame, they say, lies squarely with area representative Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington.


Natalie Adolphus

Natalie Adolphus

“Even if we had moved out of this house – the way how I see it is that if we had gone from this house, out of this yard, people would have come to live here and weh we mid wah deh? He mi wah still di pay the rent? I noh think so – if he could do we this, he mih wah still di pay the rent? We mih wah have to battle pah we own afta this – all the history we had here mi just gwein like nothing and dat totally wrong! He promised – so many people come here; this house is only four apartments and more than four, many people come here claiming to see this, they said that he offered them one of these.”


Aaron Humes

“And who are these people? You don’t know…”


Natalie Adolphus

“I don’t know them! They are not from around here.”


According to Adolphus, the contractor from Spanish Lookout indicated that they would not have to move right away as the first structure was going up. But that was finished in October. Meanwhile, she says she has had to live with terrible conditions for many years, including unreplaced windows, doors that don’t lock, an infestation of rats and other vermin, and a mostly untreated septic tank right under the property which she signed in her name in 2004. But Elrington says that she and her neighbors just have to say the word and it can be wiped out in an instant – or at least, two months.


Wilfred Elrington

“The funds are there; but how can you build if they don’t come out? Whether you want to put it on top of where they are or to build something new, they have to move. Now how do you get them to move? And there are lots of people who want homes – I can’t allow a few people to stop the march of progress. So we have built another building in front for other people and they are going to be getting in there before this Christmas is done – four families and one of the families at the back I am putting in there as well. And as soon as they move out the place, we will demolish it, build a nice new place and put them back in the same there because it’s for them. That’s all we are doing.”


And while Adolphus says she does understand the necessity, she just wants to be treated fairly.


Natalie Adolphus

“He done mek a start pahn this: you see how ih do it; ih bruk it down, piece, piece, dehn it go and do it cement, cement, cement, cement. He bruk that promise; two years he got we living like this, now fi mek he come and do this – that is totally wrong! How can we believe in him? How can we trust him? We cannot trust him if he did this to us two years ago; if he did this to me eight years ago!”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


Natalie Adolphus also told us that her nephew, Cecil Jenkins Junior—better known as singer ‘Cocono Boy’—laid a foundation for his own house on the property but was asked to stop and promised that it would be finished. Instead, a septic tank for the new complex was built right in front of his portion of the property.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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