HELP TO REBUILD: Bernadette Alert, left, and her family who are seeking Government assistance in rebuilding their home. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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Family rescued from Tabaquite forest

Living in squalor

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

A Tabaquite family living in squalor for most of their lives was rescued from their home last week.

Bernadette Alert, a Grenadian national, her three children and two grandchildren were taken from their dilapidated house to a relative’s home in Chaguanas.

The family is now seeking the Government’s assistance in rebuilding their home.

Zekiya Ramsey, who has been providing shelter to the family for the past week, said Alert was her cousin’s wife for the past 20 years. 

The couple lived at the end of a road leading into the Tabaquite forest.

 Alert’s husband, Peter Jeremiah, died of heart complications four years ago.

“The bridge leading to their home has collapsed. The house was reduced to a shack. They have no electricity or running water. These people are living in deplorable conditions,” Ramsey said.

Alert, 56, her three children—Yasmin, 18; Brutta, 16; and Elijah, 11—and grandchildren Shakira, eight, and Shakeem, seven, lived in the house. 

“Shakira and Shakeem are the children of an older daughter who left the children with her mother,” Ramsey explained.

Peter Jeremiah had occupied five acres of land in Tabaquite, where he cultivated pineapple.

“They have a lease for the State land. But since he died, people in the community have been trying to run them out and take the land,” Ramsey said.

Alert was unable to access State services, as she is not a Trinidadian, Ramsey said.

“I had cause to go to this family’s house last week and I could not believe what I saw. They have to walk through a narrow, wooden bridge to get to their home. 

“The house was dilapidated and had nothing inside. I just could not walk away and leave them there. I took them and carried them to my home,” she said.

Ramsey and her family live in a three-bedroom Housing Development Corporation (HDC) house at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas. 

“I want the Government to help these people. They not asking for a house from the Government, all they want is some assistance to rebuild their home.”

Ramsey said the family will stay at her home until they can find a suitable place to live.

“I have problems too. For almost six years I have been trying to get HDC to fix a sewer system, which is causing sewage to flood inside the house. But I cannot leave them without shelter for the holidays. That will be heartless.”

Anyone willing to assist the family can contact Ramsey at 381-6964.

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