Residents of Booby Alley will be temporarily accommodated at the Barrymore Hotel

Prime Minister Gaston Browne. (File photo)

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By Carlena Knight

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Work is underway at the former Barrymore Hotel on Fort Road to house some of the residents of Booby Alley.

Currently, there are 50 residents of this area left to be relocated and, according to the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Public Works, Clarence Pilgrim, preparations are underway to accommodate them in this facility.

“We are now looking to accommodate more people in a number of areas. Take the example of the Barrymore Hotel. We have renovated the Barrymore Hotel to accommodate the remaining number of people,” Pilgrim said.

He added that they were also considering other areas to house families, as their intention was not to separate family members by housing them in different places.

“Also what we’ve tried to do is try to keep families together, so if we can see or look for accommodation that would feel like a family setting, like a rented house etc., we’ll be there. move people. The whole goal is to keep the families intact as we move them,” Pilgrim explained.

A few years ago, Barrymore was used to house the Barbudans after Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, but in 2019, 24 Barbudans who had remained at the Fort Road location were evicted to make way for the government of convert the premises into a small hotel. and business center.

However, this plan did not materialize and since then the facility has remained in a dilapidated state, but renovations are underway to prepare the complex to house residents of Booby Alley.

This specific area had also been identified, according to previous reports, to relocate residents from Lower Newgate Street to make way for the proposed port expansion.

The housing project – funded by China – has been plagued with delays over the years, the biggest being the relocation of residents to the Booby Alley/Point area.

Regarding the relocation aspect of the housing project, Pilgrim admitted that it has been very difficult, but with only 50 residents to move, he is optimistic that the program will move forward quickly with the last set of houses to be demolished.

Already, they have “demolished about 62 structures”.

“There are about 29 structures left, but to be more specific, we either demolished or moved 62 structures,” Pilgrim added.

The relocation stage is an important part of the redevelopment plan which will see the structural and environmental rehabilitation of Booby Alley, where 150 new homes will be built, thanks to a grant from the Chinese government.

In 2019, residents of Booby Alley protested the project, fearing they would be displaced from their homes, but after several meetings with Prime Minister Gaston Browne the dispute was resolved.

Temporary houses were built in Villa to house some of the residents, while others were placed in private buildings or had their well-maintained homes moved to vacant land.

In October 2018, the government accepted a grant from China to build a total of 250 houses.

One hundred and fifty two-bedroom houses will be built in the area, only the buildings that house the Papasita Destin supermarket and the Bethel Anglican Church will remain.

Priority has been given to the Booby Alley area of ​​Point, but according to Prime Minister Browne, the intention is also to settle in communities like Gray’s Farm.

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