On Wednesday March 19, 2014 Mr. George Preville of Balata, Babonneau became the latest recipient of a brand new home. Preville, also known as ‘Mr. Jerome’ is a 77-year-old retired painter and builder, who had been living in a dilapidated home over the years with his youngest brother as he and his wife had separated. With immense gratitude, he received the keys to his new home, which was a collaborative effort by the Parliamentary Representative of the area, Alvina Reynolds, the National Initiative for Creating Employment (NICE), and the Babonneau Police.
“I’m thanking Miss Alvina Reynolds for building me a new house because I had no where to live. The house I had there, I wasn’t able to fix it. I am not working anymore, as I’m suffering with my knee and my shoulder. So I’m thanking the police a lot for what they have done for me, in the name of Jesus and I hope the Lord is going to bless them, bless my minister and bless all the others who came and give a hand,” expressed Preville.
Project Coordinator of the National Initiative for Creating Employment (NICE), Mr. Perry Thomas was very pleased with having the initiative come to fruition and of course aiding Mr. Preville.
“What we have here today is that we have undertaken the repairs of an elderly home, which is a complement to our Home Here Program. This particular project has a unique phase and uniqueness to it in a sense that it was a collaborative effort, where the police stepped in through their community-policing program; we provided the materials for the home and the police did the labour.
“In addition to that, Harris Paints came in and donated some paint for the painting of the structure and we are very thankful for each and every person who has played a role. And today we are very happy that we are able to do this, and we wish in some ways to replicate that down the road. So at this point in time we are very happy to have this particular initiative taking off and Mr. ‘Jerome’ has a new place and comfortable environment in which to live,” said Thomas.
Parliamentary Representative for the Babonneau constituency, Alvina Reynolds was also present at the handing over ceremony.
“Mr. ‘Jerome’ has lived in this broken down home for many years and it was really a dangerous place for him to be living, he being an elderly man. And so, when NICE (said) that they wanted to do some home repairs in the constituency with the monies that they had, we got so many houses that needed repairs. But in the end the resources were a bit short and we agreed to do three homes. And so we identified homes for the elderly since these are the persons most vulnerable. We catered for two ladies and one gentleman. One house was built in Fond Assau, one in Garrand and this one here in Balata.”
“The other challenge that we had was to get a work force that would do the work without charging. So we approached community groups. There’s a youth group who worked free of charge, the police of course did this one free of charge also and they did everything from top to bottom. So I’m very pleased as the parliamentary representative, I have a passion and love for the elderly folks, who have given to the community, given to the development of this country in their twilight years and this is the least we can do for them. So I thank NICE, the Babonneau Police and also the neighbour who gave permission for the land to be used to construct this home for Mr. Jerome.”
Also at the ceremony were the members of the Babonneau Police Station who volunteered their time and efforts at constructing the new home. The STAR spoke with Ronald Phillip, Inspector in charge of the Babonneau Police Station on being part of the plan and being able to bring it to a successfully completion.
“We are very elated to have been part of the project. We are happy to have partnered with NICE, and the district representative in ensuring that this newly constructed home was built for Mr. Preville.
“Basically the house’s dimensions are 16 feet by 20 feet, and it contains two bedrooms. For us it is more important because it is part of the development of our community policing strategy that is being employed in Babonneau. We hope that this house is one step closer to ensuring that the residents of Babonneau receive an enhanced policing product.”
“Often times people see the police as just persons arresting, charging and taking them to court, but we need to show that we are social partners in the community, and our aim also encompasses the development of communities and the residents that we serve,” Phillip concluded.
The total estimated figure for the newly built structure is about EC $18,000.