Ivan houses aren’t ready

A lack of running water and other amenities is being blamed for the Jamaican Office of National Reconstruction’s failure to hand over 25 housing units to their owners in Brighton, Westmoreland, who lost their homes during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

“The houses have been completed by the Venezuelans, but the total infrastructure work has not been completed as yet,” Tracey Hamilton, ONR public relations officer, told The Gleaner recently. “There is no electricity and there are some National Water Commission connections to be made as well.”

Despite the delays, Ms. Hamilton said she was confident the $30 million project would be completed no later than February.

“The people from the Rural Electric Programme have dropped the poles,” Ms. Hamilton said. “They were dropped by the end of November into December and it is expected that they will be installed and connected by the end of this month into the first week of February. We are looking at turning over the houses by the end of February.”

In anticipation of the closure of the Brighton project the ONR has recently commenced work on its Bourkesfield, St. Catherine project.

“Work is 30 per cent complete at Bourkesfield,” said Danville Walker, the ONR’s chief executive officer. “The Venezue-lans are building them in stages, first the base, then the walls, then the roof. They have not completed all 75 homes as yet, but about 20 have all sides up and a couple have roofs.”

Mr. Walker said the targeted completion date is March. “They (the Venezuelans) have been working very hard,” he said. “They went back to Venezuela for the holiday and are expected back next week.”

The $67 million Bourkesfield property is located about two miles south of Old Harbour, near Old Harbour Bay. The 75 units will add to the Brighton 25 to complete the 100 units donated to Jamaica by the Venezuelans.