(CMR) Several Caymanians are living in a government housing complex that could easily be mistaken for the inner city of a third world country. It is estimated that upward of 15 persons reside in the mostly two-bedroom units located within feet of the Owen Roberts International Airport and a main through-way in George Town East.
Cayman Marl Road was recently alerted to the accumulation of garbage at the back of the property and did a site visit to ascertain what the true situation. The best who alerted us was shocked that a government property would be allowed to remain in that state.
While we are uncertain of how long the garbage has been there you can see several discarded mattresses, appliances and other household garbage. The chickens have made it a feasting ground and no doubt so have rodents and cockroaches.
A politically hopefully dropped off a single bin two years ago during the election fever and the bin is still being utilized. Normally for a complex that size you would expect to see the industrial size green garbage containers. In all fairness to the residents given the lack of regular garbage collection they would require several of those on site. We understand that most tenants are clients of either social services or NAU and do not pay rent. One young lady transitioned from the government run girls home into the housing unit. Most appear to be two bedroom units with both adults and children on site.
We were shocked to see that the interior did not fare much better than the outside. There are bare concrete floors with years’ worth of dirt caked in that makes cleaning them an impossible task. There are leaking faucets that allow for sitting water on the outside of the units and accumulation of mosquitoes – a clear public safety hazard. We spoke to several residents who were making do with that they had. Some persons have lived there for almost ten years and stated the conditions have deteriorated and there is no regular maintenance carried out on site at all.
Speaking to CMR on the basis of anonymity one person concluded that government is trying to force them out by not maintaining the units to a livable standard. In fact, three years ago they stopped having gas delivered to the tenants. A friend donated a counter top cooker that they use to cook their meals. The fairly decent stove remains unused.
Another occupant shared that she’s afraid to put her young child on the floor. The child should have the freedom to pull up and crawl – a key component of proper physical development. Instead, she holds the child up for most of the time for fear of what germs are lurking on the ground that all her moping won’t change. She shared with us:
“A social worker came by about two years ago to inquire as to what requires needed to be done and we gave them a long list. We have not seen or heard from anyone else since then.”
https://youtu.be/4zcwn0IshMwThey stated that they had done what painting we saw in the unit and sure enough we saw several paint cans on the floor. They had requested some sort of proper flooring that could be cleaned. At some stage, a friend donated some discarded carpet from an office and they have recycled that for the bedroom floor.
Outside of the unit the eaves are falling down from what appears to be water logged damage as well as mold. Mold can make both adults and children extremely sick. Basic human rights should dictate a better living condition for the poorest among us.
Chickens and other rodents appear to have made the garbage field their feeding area. We cannot help but wonder how government can boast of a surplus but persons under their care are living in such a state.
CMR has reached out to several government officials in hope of having these issues immediately addressed.