Front Page
October 7, 2011
Buccament resident losing patience with developers

Buccament resident Renwick Quashie has just about run out of patience with the developers of the Buccament Bay Resort, after his home was flooded again, following heavy rains over the weekend.{{more}}

Quashie, just one of the persons affected by the fury of the Buccament Bay River, which causes problems during heavy downpours, said that some time after five on Sunday afternoon, the water started coming through his back yard.

“It wasn’t that serious, so I went by the bayside, ‘cause we have some fishing boats down there, so we went to see if they were okay. I went across by the manager over there (Buccament Resort) to tell them come have a look.”

“Next thing, I saw my wife speeding coming, telling me to come quick. So when I get here, the river done enveloped the yard.”

Quashie said that he made a dash to the house, where his three-year-old daughter Shyonta was asleep, and took her to his mother’s house for safety.

He recounted that neighbors, as well as Cliff Jones, regional Director of Security for Harlequin (developers of the resort), maneuvered through thigh-high waters in an effort to assist in getting some of his belongings to higher ground, but everything could not be salvaged.

“I lose the computer, printer, cell phone, books; and I can’t find some things because the water keep sweeping everything away.

“We saved a few items, but I don’t know if the fridge is working as yet,” Quashie noted.

The security guard, who will for the time being take up residence with his wife and child at his mother’s home, said the river also washed away freshly planted produce from his back yard.

According to Quashie, promises had been made by officials of the resort to have the problem rectified within three weeks of the first flooding incident, which took place on August 1, this year.

Although he has been patient with the developers of the multi million dollar resort, he believes that it is time that something is done before the situation gets worse.

“We have been complaining and they have been telling us to wait, but nothing is being done.”

“They put a bank up on their side, and when the water hit the wall, it coming straight into the village; so every time it rains heavily this is what we can expect.”

“I have no problems with the project. I think it’s a wonderful project, but it is really difficult for me to see that I have worked so hard and done so much and then this is what happened.

“It must not only be a benefit for the tourists, but we, the villagers, must also be protected as well.”

“Yes it’s nature, but it could have been avoided; they have actually changed the course of nature.”

However, officials at the Buccament Bay Resort say that they are awaiting the go ahead from local officials to construct a river defence system that would safeguard residents on the other side of the Buccament Bay River.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the resort on Monday, October 3, Security chief Jones said that following the heavy rains which took place in early August, and some environmental studies of the river, it was suggested that a metal structure be constructed in the river to ensure flooding doesn’t take place again.

Jones said that the plan was to install the steel sheetings, which are expected to channel the water away from the village when the river comes down with the force that has been witnessed on previous occasions.

“We will get it done as soon as we can, but we still have to get permission from the government to make sure that we can do it properly and effectively.”

“We also have to wait until the river level drops. Normally when its down, the water level is about 18 inches to two feet, so once it drops sufficiently we can get in the water and get these things built, but with the way the river is this minute, its next to impossible to do it.”

Meanwhile, a call to Town Planner Anthony Bowman revealed that the Ministry of Housing etc is unaware of any documents submitted by the Resort.

“We have not received that Environmental Impact Assessment…. We asked them to do an Environment Audit beside an assessment… to look at what they have done and the impact so far on the environment.”

Bowman said that when an EIA has been received, there is no telling how long it would take before any remedial work could take place in the river.

“It will have to be assessed, and then the planning permission can be granted unconditionally; it can be granted with conditions, and it can be refused. Some can be done quickly and some can take a whole year to have it done or more,” Bowman said.

When contacted by SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Jones said that he would make every effort to ascertain the status of the reports, and that the resort would do all in their power to prevent a repeat of what happened last Sunday.