Vieux Fort residents call on HDC to fix issues before handing over building


One of the apartment buildings at Vieux Fort Housing Development in St James where residents are complaining about several structural issues. – SUREASH CHOLAI

Vieux Fort residents are calling on the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to address issues of poor maintenance and health and safety in and around the buildings before the development is handed over to a property management company run by the residents.

One resident, who spoke to Newsday last week, complained about leaking pipes, cracked walls, flooding and health and safety issues. The development is at Bournes Road, St James.

Water damage from a leaking roof at the HDC Vieux Forte Housing Development in St James. – ROGER JACOB

The resident said he and his neighbours also have to deal with snakes and monkeys from nearby bushes trying to enter their homes.

“Many of us are scared of being victimised so we won’t come out and show our faces, but we are tired. The only way they would fix these issues is if they are brought to the public’s attention,” he told Newsday.

“We have a major landslide which started happening late 2020. We called HDC on many occasions asking them to come and remove the loose dirt and do something to prevent it from happening. Because where the landslide is happening is where the main water pipe is.

“When we call them they act like they are upset that we have issues. It’s coming over as if we shouldn’t complain and should be thankful to have a home. It’s nonchalant and very disrespectful and we have had enough.”

The resident said there are also issues with flooding after heavy rain.

“In one instance the floodwater came down on the ground floor and blocked the elevator.”

On Saturday the HDC was expected to hand over the management of the building to the Beaucoup Management Co Ltd after an election to choose residents to be a part of the management team.

However, this was postponed to Thursday afternoon.

A landslip behind one of the buildings at HDC’s Vieux Fort Housing Development in St James. – ROGER JACOB

The resident explained, “Once the responsibility is handed over it will now be the responsibility of the management company to address all of the unaddressed issues. The residents are now wondering where the money will come from to fix all these issues with only 90 of us paying a (monthly) maintenance fee of $300.”

The residents told Newsday they have asked HDC to set up a fire alarm system and install fire extinguishers through the development.

“We even sent them a legal letter saying this is against OSH health and safety guidelines. They never acknowledged the letter. And what is more frightening and disrespectful is that they keep selling people these homes without fixing existing issues.”

Attempts to reach Penelope Beckles, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, were unsuccessful. Minister in the ministry Adrian Leonce was also unreachable.

Newsday sent questions to HDC’s communication officer Dayne Lewis to confirm if the corporation is aware of the issues and what is being done to address them, but there was no response up to press time.

Follow-up calls went unanswered.

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