Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Buchanan, Dalley tour Wellington Heights today
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Jamaica Observer


REYNOLDS... NHDC committed to the orderly development of the Wellington Heights project

THE housing and environmental ministers, Donald Buchanan and Horace Dalley, will today tour the controversial hillside development of Wellington Heights, after its most outspoken critic, Karlene Sinclair, has been threatened with death.

Sinclair is the treasurer of the Wellington Glades townhouse complex below which the Wellington Heights project is taking place, and residents say that blasting on the hillside in the Long Mountain range has damaged their properties and has had a negative environmental impact.

Sinclair emerged as the major spokesperson for her community and last week she was sent a letter, with a bullet enclosed, warning her to shut up and move from her home or face death.

BUCHANAN... threat absolutely reprehensible, unacceptable and criminal

Yesterday Buchanan joined those who have condemned the threat.

"This can only be described as absolutely reprehensible, unacceptable and criminal," Buchanan said. "The police should spare no effort in tracking down the perpetrators of this and bring them to justice."

The Wellington Heights Development is a joint venture between the government's National Housing Development Corporation (NHDC) and the private firm, Meridian Construction Company.

For months Wellington Glades home owners have been attempting to get the NHDC and Meridian to take the complaints seriously and to provide compensation for damage -- something they hope will begin to happen with today's visit by Buchanan and Dalley and their senior technicians.

At the least, when work resumes at Wellington Heights shortly, the NHDC has promised that it will be more community-friendly.

"The company is committed to the orderly development of the Wellington Heights project and has approved a revised work programme submitted by the contractor that will see the speedy resumption of work on the project by July 22," said the NHDC's president, Milverton Reynolds.

The company advised the Wellington Glades residents that further blasting would be necessary for another 1,000 cubic metres of excavation but that they would carry out the activity with "due care".

At the same time Reynolds, too, has condemned the threat against Sinclair and said the NHDC dissociated itself "completely" from any act that threatened "the rights of citizens in the exercise of their freedom of speech".

The Jamaica Labour Party and human rights group, Jamaicans for Justice have also condemned the threat against Sinclair.