Locked in the middle
A comedy of errors and unfortunate incidents have left Ryan Alleyne in a position he does not find funny at all.
His predicament began in 2005 after he left his mother’s Balls Plantation, Christ Church house following a dispute and built a small shack close behind the house to live. The makeshift house had no toilet or bath, so Alleyne resigned himself to bathing outdoors and using a bucket to pass waste into.
Alleyne said that in 2008 the National Housing Corporation (NHC) offered him the chance to buy some of the tenantry land he was living on and he jumped at the opportunity. This is where the errors began.
“They told me I was on Lot 51 and offered me the opportunity to buy it, so I went and got the money from my savings because I did not want to borrow any at that time, and sent in my application. After I was told the paperwork was done, I went to the bank to get a loan to build a house,” he said.
Alleyne, a 32-year-old Sanitation Service Authority worker, said the bank sent people to inspect the land to make sure all was well with his loan, but they reported they could not find the landmarks for the land he thought he had purchased. As a result, Alleyne said he paid $500 to hire a land surveyor, who shocked him with a revelation.
“He told me I was in fact not living on Lot 51 and what I had bought was a small, landlocked area sandwiched between other people’s properties. When I was offered land, I felt so good that I could move on with my life. Now, I am going nowhere,” he said.
However, Alleyne himself is not faultless in the matter. In his enthusiasm to own a piece of the rock, he failed to check for himself the land he was getting, which is around 187 square feet.
“I bought the land thinking it was Lot 51; I didn’t know what was going on, I only realized when the man came to put down landmarks and told me I was not on Lot 51,” he said, adding he paid around $300 for the land and relevant documents, as tenantry land sells at ten cents per square foot.
Alleyne said he was led to believe he was getting a piece of land in a reasonable area where he could build a house but, since that is not the case, the NHC was now playing some sort of waiting game.
“They keep telling me to come back, come back. In 2010 I hired a lawyer but he isn’t hearing anything from them either. Now it’s 2013 and I feel bad that, as a Government worker, I’m being treated like if I’m a non-national or something. I am at the end of my rope. I am living in poverty for a man who has owned land since 2008. I feel as if the NHC got me under its heel grinding,” he said, adding he was even paying land tax on the property until he stopped recently.
Alleyne said he would have no problem paying extra if the NHC offered him a different piece of land. He also said he had inquired about another piece of NHC land in Parish Land but was not getting a response.
“This land is landlocked; I would need a helicopter to get in should the people owning the land next door put up a fence. Government says they giving away free house but can’t rectify this?” he said.
When contacted, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman said he would look into the matter.