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Nov 12, 2009

Twisted land dispute in Crooked Tree

Story PictureEmotions were running high in the village of Crooked Tree today after a single mother was evicted from her home. That’s only a part of the story because it involves a parcel of land that was purchased back in 1937 by Jossiah Adolphus from Ann Henrietta Gillett. Delahnie Bain headed to Crooked Tree where she found the villagers up in arms.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting
Generations of the Adolphus family have lived on his land in Crooked Tree Village since 1937. But now another family is claiming a portion of the land and the entire village is in uproar, especially after Rockelle Gomez, was evicted from her home.

Rockelle Gomez, Evicted from Home
“When dehn come tell me I have to move I start to cry because I tell dehn I noh got nowhere fi go. I tell dehn I born and grow deh and dis dah weh I live. Di other bredda he laugh afta me and he tell me I di tell lie because dat dah weh he born and grow. But dat dah noh true, dehn no born and grow pan dis land, dis dah wah Adolphus land. Dehn noh give me nothing, I noh have no money fi build no house. I tek off mi door and dehn call police. Yesterday police come pick me up because I tek off my own door weh I buy and dehn seh dat dehn wah ker me dah court.”

Delahnie Bain
“I notice they were burning some of your stuff out there; do you have anything left?”

Rokelle Gomez
“I ker one and two thing home but I couldn’t ker everything because I neva have enough money fi charter everything but I ker weh I could ker.”

Gomez’s is the daughter of Jossiah’s sister, who built the house she lived in. But Jossiah’s children Horace and Rochelle are the ones fighting for the entire plot. They say that the family of Merrill Tillett is taking over their land.

Rochelle Adolphus, Claims Family Owns Land
“After my father died my younger brother who is married to Ms. Joyce—she is not here today—we spoke and we decided to try to get the lending to go in and get the title and everything. During that time they kept taking us back and forth to court and we had a first attorney. He said he would encourage us to buy the land over since Mr. Jossiah, who is the claimer of the land died. So we paid him, put the money in his hand and now we don’t know who we bought it from all over. But he went to the court and he got us the land. He gave—Ms. Joyce is the one who was fighting with them because I was not here for a while and they gave us the land, they gave us the land and to make a long story short, what happened? What went wrong there? They come in and they tell us we don’t have the land anymore over there and they want the whole place. Up to this morning they stop me from walk out there. I cannot walk out there or pass through that gate.”

Horace Adolphus, Claims Family Owns Land
“1937 this land was bought and deed and everything and everything was in the government registry. What I do not understand is this: how this land is in the registry and the government cannot protect the people who own this land and allow those people to take over.”

Rochelle Adolphus
“They have papers for the land. They read the papers for us and believe me it’s under investigation right now. Everything on that paper is a lie. They say the land had belonged to their mother and the mother gave it to their son Linden and everything on that paper is lie.”

Because they believe the land was unlawfully handed over, the Adolphus family has the full support of the villagers, including the chairman.

George Guest, Chairman, Crooked Tree Village
“This is going to cause moderation ins this village and I don’t want that in this village. Alls I want the village to remember is we are one big family and everybody was born here and everybody has got land in here. I wasn’t born here but I am here to protect the people of Crooked Tree Village and I will do that until somebody come along and shove me out the way and there’s nobody big enough.”

Gerald Tillett, Resident, Crooked Tree Village
“This is totally unfair and this thing could lead into serious problem in this village because every year when we get flood, we pass through this place. Last flood water gone right up to the clinic. We have to pass from the clinic way up this way because out yonder, boat. Now we can’t, dehn di tek weh our right, the whole village right. One family? And all of those guys weh come here dah deported from America. Everybody; everybody in this village is against those people. Everybody inna dis village is against those people. Nobody in with them except that Tillett family altogether.”

The message resonating around the village is that the situation can and will evolve to a violent state if something is not done and fast. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Rochelle’s son, Kenneth Adolphus, who owned a small bar on the land is also being evicted.

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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