Sliding off Mount All
THE COMMUNITIES of Mount All and White Hill, St Andrew, are places where someone can sit back in peace and quiet and enjoy a breathtaking view of the island.
However, such luxury comes at a cost, manifested in the unstable nature of the very ground beneath the feet.
It is due to this instability that those two communities are no longer what they used to be as their quiet nature is partially due to the fact there are simply fewer people than before.
“The majority of people have been moved out by Government,” said long-time Mount All resident of more than 40 years, Wendell Prescod.
When Street Beat spotted Prescod, he was in the bushes behind his home cutting a piece of wood to make a clothes line. It is this type of country living which he said was no longer practised.
“I raise rabbits, sheep, chickens, turkey and sometimes pigs. I don’t sell them; I raise them to eat and if you’re my friend, I would give you some of the meat. That is how we as black people should live but we don’t,” he said.
Prescod said he liked the peace of Mount All but there was a major problem – bus service – a problem big enough for Prescod to consider leaving Mount All behind.
“The only problem is how far you got to walk to catch a bus. Women who are working late have to stop and walk this road at night. They need to move the rest of us from here; the area is not bad but it is the road,” he said.
This is exactly what Stephen Griffith is planning. He said he loved Mount All but he had his family to consider.
“I may leave here soon and move to St Michael as it will be easier for my daughters to get to and from work. I would like to see the buses return to this area. Right now we have to walk up the hill,” he said.
Griffith was “breezing” when the Street Beat team visited him. He was relaxing on a rock, overlooking a spectacular view of the island, and keeping an eye on his sheep.
He said land slippage was more a problem for nearby White Hill but Mount All also had its share of terrain malfunctions.
“A main was broken for a while before people realized what had happened and the road here ended up dropping in. This is why the buses don’t come here anymore. The buses] used to turn round out here but now they [Transport Board] claim they don’t know when the road will slide out so they stop coming,” he said.
As for his thoughts on Mount All, he said: “It is nice; there is fresh air and the view and it is quiet. The only thing is that the birds and monkeys get all the fruit,” he said, adding he had lived there for 12 years after moving from St Lucy.
In addition to sheep, Griffith said he raised fish, birds and turtles and he also crafted bird houses. He said it was all for his nine-year-old son Tharad but with the imminent move, he was unsure if they would continue raising animals.
On White Hill itself, a group of young men had started a game of cricket. Watching them were Marcia Lowe and Cheryl Small, lifetime residents but, if they had their way, they would not be there much longer.
“I would like to be moved because of the land slippage. Underneath my cellar has lots of cracks and my well is leaning. Plus, out here lonely; it used to be good but since the land slippage it’s lonely because we don’t have the [number of] people that used to live here,” Small said.
Both women also complained about a nearby badly leaning utility pole, which they feared would soon come crashing down.
As for Lowe, she said her immediate neighbours had been relocated but she was told by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) she was not suitable to be moved.
“The NHC say my house is none to resite. I don’t know why but behind me is slipping away . . . . What for me, I will get,” she said.