Villages at Coverley Cover up – not a place to call home!
I just wanted to put behind the past and live a quiet life – me, Monica Yvonne Boyce (nee Greaves), a 61-year-old Barbadian who spent 20 years in the US, and then lost my dream home at #28 Prior Park Heights, Stage 2, St. James in unprecedented malicious and horrific circumstances.
After seeing the offerings at The Villages at Coverley, some seven and a half years ago, I decided to purchase a home there for the sum of $289,000, with an agreed $100 plus in monthly maintenance. My conveyance is not with Coverley’s management, but the Ministry of Housing (from Derek Alleyne, Director of Urban Development Commission).
I chose # 979 Tamarind Drive because I found the view of the St. George valley and the St. Philip skyline, particularly inspiring. I bought this cash, and moved in April 7 2011. My home consists of two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, and back patio, outfitted with washer, dryer, fridge, stove and plumbing and electrical fittings.
There were only a few of us at the time, and I basically kept to myself, but, as time went on, I met other residents at the Meet & Greet sessions. I felt it was a warm place until I saw little things that were not adding up.
The defectiveness of the finishes soon became apparent. From the outset, there were constant leaks in the roof, so I constantly needed to do repairs, after the six-month warranty. When I called on management (“Anna” on behalf of Mark Maloney), there was no satisfaction. The roof would be fixed, yet the leaks persist to this day. Other residents experienced similar issues, and I noticed a pattern. Whites are catered to, while Blacks are ignored.
The Whites live almost exclusively in Avocado Avenue, and appear to have different rules from the other residents, and are treated differently. For example, trees are not to exceed the height of the fence. Yet Avocado Avenue residents have trees a number of feet over this height and are allowed to erect garden ornaments, a liming spot and decorative figurines. This practice is not permitted in the Villages by Mr. Mark Maloney.
When the Fresh Market supermarket opened three years ago, I decided to support it and would spend $300 in produce every week, only to have it rot by the time I got home in the shuttle. The quality is poor and pricey, so I no longer shop there. I go to Massy, Worthing, which is, ironically, cheaper. Similarly, the store fronts are empty. Tenants move in and quickly move out due to high rents.
It’s not “a place to call home”. It’s a TRAP! Coverley is an 18th century plantation, with Anna as overseer, cracking the cat ’o’ nine tails on the backs of the black residents, with her lynch men on bicycles reporting on residents’ activities.
There are strict rules in force. For example, if you want to sell your home, you are not allowed to erect a “For sale” sign in front your house. Initially, garage doors had to be uniform, although they were later changed when purchasers were not forthcoming because of this restriction. Management makes changes at will and then informs residents, as if by decree.
Notably, on signing up, I was informed there would be a bowling alley and church constructed behind my home. However, two years ago, after being away in New York I returned to find instead a monstrosity erected (a warehouse for Fresh Market), a blatant breach of contract. The construction was so massive that it compromised the structural integrity of my back wall, causing a crevice.
One of my immediate neighbours wrote a letter to Management about this, and was informed that structural engineers would assess the damage. I then spoke with the supervisor, Rommell, and, in true puppet form, he reiterated this. However, this never materialised, and whenever I brought up the issue with management, no action was taken.
The Coverley product is clearly of poor quality. The tiles are extremely dangerous and slippery when wet, and, once when I accidentally broke a tile, to my shock, it was a plastic covering.
The countertops are just veneers. Imagine the supposed “granite” finish in the kitchen has started to bubble up! Furthermore, the house was to be outfitted with a lawn, as outlined in the contract, but this, also, did not materialise. When I queried this, I was told the six months’ warranty had expired, so I would have to look after it myself. The maintenance fee is also questionable – supposedly for street cleaning, garbage collection and with the mail boxes in a state of disrepair, needing painting.
You fall in love with the concept and without scrutinizing the property, overlooking any faults. You, honestly fall victim to “buyer beware”. By January 20 this year, I was at the end of my tether, and approached Management, boisterously complaining about the warehouse’s location, the rotten produce at Fresh Market and the poor garbage service collection. A light-skinned woman came out the office and asked me not to curse at her. I calmly explained I was chastising her (as opposed to her presumption that I would use profanity).
The Police have forcibly picked me up twice this year since my interaction with management and taken me to the Psychiatric Hospital where I have been detained and treated in an undignified and contentious manner. The first time occasion was on January 21st, Errol Barrow Day. I remember vividly as I was listening to excerpts from his speeches. I was detained there for two and a half weeks, and the more recent incident occurred August 14th for a two-month period.
While there, Coverley’s management somehow obtained my daughter’s e-mail, and informed her there was human and canine faeces in my house, and that the neighbours were complaining about rodents’ entering their homes.
They harassed her to such an extent that she suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalised. Since she, too, has been persecuted and given the fact that I never at any point gave them her contact information, I need an award on her behalf. I gave no authorisation to anyone to enter my home. They were trespassing. The e-mails clearly show that Coverley‘s management had been in my home unlawfully. I have all the e-mails sent to her as evidence.
I live on a disability cheque from the US, and when I came home, I had to pay almost $400 to have my phone reconnected, and my water bill was $500, although there was clearly no progression on the metre.
All over Coverley it was rumoured that I was a mad woman. WhatsApp was abuzz. People were looking at me strangely, and gossip was rampant. Life was never the same. I realised who were genuine neighbours and who were fake. Every time I see a Police car, I’m traumatised. My every move is watched and whenever I have a visitor, a management truck is in front my door. These are the conditions you are living under at “a place to call home”’. I reiterate it is a trap.
I should mention that I have been diagnosed “bipolar” for 36 years, but in the US I was never treated in this inhumane and callous manner. Over there you are classified as “special needs”, but in here in Barbados, you are labelled “mad.” It’s most unfortunate – derogatory, extremely archaic and colonial, dungeonous even, based on ignorance, void of basic education, no compassion, no understanding. These are the conditions under which I live in Barbados, a supposedly educated and literate people. I have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s their problem, not mine. After the unlawful detention, I kept my own space because I knew one day I would come to the Press.
Now let me make it clear. I have NO intention of leaving Coverley. I bought this house as a retirement home. Management has to be replaced, and my daughter also must be compensated for the persecution she suffered.
After spending some $500,000 total on my home to date, I want compensation. I want money. I have a criminal attorney, Lennox Miller, on the case, and I am suing the Police and the Psychiatric Hospital for abuse of power and Coverley’s management for breach of contract.
Assistant Superintendant Thomas visited my home October 8 and said she had received a complaint from my lawyer, and assured me that the case is being investigated. I was happy you see that at least SOMEONE has principle. The Commissioner of Police at all levels also appears to be an honest and upright human being.
The Treaty of Chaguaramas, of which Barbados is a signatory, categorically states you are to be free from Police persecution and free to walk freely as a human being (among other things). Yet, all of my rights were violated by Coverley’s Management, the Police and the Psychiatric Hospital. So I’m demanding justice.