Charford residents want to own the apartments
By MIRANDA LA ROSE Friday, July 13 2012
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PROBLEMS: Eliza Holder, 80, tells her complaints to Mayor Louis Lee Sing when he toured Charford Court apartments on Charlotte Street, Port of Spain y...
Residents of Charford Court in Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain want Government to give them the opportunity to own the apartments as others do in other Housing Development Corporation (HDC) estates.
HDC Managing Director, Jearlean John told Newsday by telephone that “those properties are not for sale.”
The residents also need urgent repairs to leaking roofs and other parts of the six 26-year-old apartment buildings , particularly the roof. Charford Court has 225 apartments.
They would also like elevators and garbage chutes installed in the buildings to cater to the needs of the senior citizens living there, fire escapes for emergencies, and a gym and recreational facilities.
One man, Anthony Joseph wants the pigeons which have also made the apartments their home, removed saying their droppings were health hazards, and they damaged vehicles parked in the court yard.
The residents made their needs known when they met yesterday with Port-of-Spain City Mayor Louis Lee Sing at Charford Court.
Leaking roofs was the main complaint with residents talking about water coming down from the fifth apartment right down to the ground floor.
One woman, Donna Robinson said she had to buy buckets just to catch water, and others said they had to use an umbrella in their toilets.
Senior citizen Elma Alexis who lives on the fifth floor of Building A said that the guttering was clogged with shrubs growing in them. “We need them cleaned. We have water coming down in the bedroom, on furniture, everywhere. My cupboards are about to drop. The walls are saturated.
If the HDC could fix the problems, things would be good. We have plenty mosquitoes. In front of my grandson bedroom is like Caroni River.”
Lee Sing told the media that he did not want to get involved with the business of the HDC in Port-of-Spain, but he was forced to, because he had listened to their complaints for two years and was concerned about them as part of his burgesses.
He plans to write the HDC Managing Director about his concerns particularly on the issue of the leases. “My own approach,” Lee Sing said, “was to allow the HDC and other state agencies to take their own actions,but the concerns of the residents seem to go unheard.”
Resident Clive Telemaque, pannist, who has lived in Charford Court for 26 years said that after paying a rent for 23 and 24 years, residents should be given the opportunity to own the apartments.
“We want ownership, even if we have to pay $1,000 in mortgage monthly.”
This view was echoed by several residents who took Lee Sing on a tour of the apartments.
Giving residents contracts for two and three years, Lee Sing said suggested that the government was not a caring one as the contracts do not provide for transfer of rights of tenancy or inheritance.