Lilleth Haseley Anderson’s dream of retiring in Hanover, the parish of her birth, is turning into a nightmare, created by the careless action of the National Works Agency (NWA).
While Mrs. Anderson is expressing her frustration and lack of confidence in the NWA and the Hanover Health Department, the NWA’s parish manager is showing more concerned about her taking her problem to the media or taking legal action against the agency.
Although residing in the United States of America, Lilleth remains bonded to her homeland, and in particular Central Flat in Dias, Hanover where she has built a home. The problem she faces was created in 2012 when, in her absence, the NWA imposed upon her property with a shoddy job of drainage works.
Untiring efforts to have the matter rectified over years have only resulted in built up frustration and fear which was heighted last Saturday, June 12, when heavy rainfall sent water streaming through her property and on top of damage already caused, eroded more land.
When the NWA was contacted on Monday, June 14, 2021 communications officer for the western region, Janell Ricketts said she was unaware of the issue but after being briefed by parish manager Gareth Bernard she subsequently informed that “A design was done and it has been submitted (but) we will not be able to proceed until we have been given approval.
We don’t have that approval right now so I’m unable to tell you how soon we will address it… but it will be addressed.“
Relating the background to the ongoing issue, Mrs Anderson said the NWA planted a culvert “and ran drainage through my land. They also cut the neighbours’ drainage into mine without my knowledge.”
Over the past two years in particular, she has been at her wits end trying to get the NWA to correct the problem. “I call NWA attention to the further damages (and) Mr Bernard the Parish Manager came to visit and saw the disaster.” What he saw then “was a gully dividing the land into two.”
She said she produced a copy of the diagram for her property to show that prior to the drainage works by the NWA there was no gully on the property and “He agreed there’s no gully and took it along to submit my complaint to the head of department.” But nothing was done.
Mrs Anderson is not comforted by the latest undertaking. She released text chats with Mr Bernard that have given her no consolation as to when the issue will be resolved.
“In December 2020, I messaged Mr Bernard telling him I will be coming to Jamaica and hope to get results from my property issues but nothing was done to rectify the problem,” she bemoaned.
Adding to her woes is that after heavy rainfall water settles into several holes that harbour mosquitoes. This was brought to the attention of both the NWA and the Hanover Health Department from which an officer visited only to advise her “to put motor oil onto the settlement every 10 days.”
In another chat on May 19, Mrs Anderson advised that she needed date and time for fixing of the drain as she wanted to schedule a date for her return to the USA “because I want to be here for workmen to gain entry to the property.” He responded however, that “we do not have approval to extend the drain. In the conversation I said that I am doing an estimate and in it is a proposal to extend the drain. I repeat, there is no approval. The estimate has not even been submitted as yet let alone approved or contract awarded. I don’t even know if it will be approved. Please continue your business as normal. If a time comes that we need to find you, I will message you or call, ok.”
On June 9, Mrs Anderson again sent a text message to Mr Bernard in which she said, “I have reached out to you many times in good spirit, still no response. However, there’s an issue with the neighbouring culvert. Please review the videos and see how much maintaining is way overdue. Before long, the clog drainage is going to cause flooding and damage into the road way. This will be a form of neglect, poor maintenance.”
Mr Bernard was concerned about the information getting to the media and indicated this when Mrs Anderson asked him to “Please text me your position at Lucea Hanover NWA.” His response was, “Why, so you can have your lawyer write me, or you are writing the media? I thought we were getting along😄.” And after being called for a comment that he said he could not give to the press, he again sent her a text saying, “The media called yesterday.”