Trinidad: Landlord smashes squatter’s home

WHAT NEXT?: Zeia Flemming stands in front of her Pleasantville home which, she claimed, was partially destroyed by the landowner who has been trying for some time to get her to leave. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

(Trinidad Newsday) Squatter Zeia Flemming and her 11-year-old son got a rude awakening yesterday morning in their one-bedroom hut in Pleasantville, San Fernando.

It was the sound of the landlord banging on the door with a crowbar. Before Flemming, 52, could get out of bed, she felt the wind and the rain and her 11-year-old son was jolted from sleep when the landlord started to knock off the front and the sides of the hut.

Flemming, the mother of three, of Coconut Boulevard, had been knocking on the doors of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for the past six years. In December, Flemming said, the HDC told her the documents she took to them were sufficient and she should expect a phone call soon.

They called on December 24, but with an invitation to go to the HDC office on Circular Road, San Fernando to collect a Christmas hamper.

That same morning, Flemming had a visit from the landlord, who she said told her, “Doh let next year come and meet you here.”

Flemming used to seek alms on Harris Promenade, sitting in front of the old train with her children seated next to her.

About yesterday’s incident, Flemming said, “Well, I was sleeping, me and my son. Before it start to get bright, he come and started to break the board and pull it out. It was still lil bit dark. While he breaking, he keep asking me ‘How long again I have to wait on HDC?’ The rain started coming in.”

With her front door completely broken down, Flemming and her son are at the mercy of the weather. The landlord broke off parts of the front wall, she said, which exposed her clothing, a suitcase of personal items, and her son’s book bag and schoolbooks.

Flemming said she reported the matter to the police but they advised her to take legal action. She took her son to school and spent the rest of the day walking about and waiting for night to fall.

“All I can do now is report the matter to HDC. I going to do that, hoping they will call me soon. Because he said he will come back to break the rest of the house,” Flemming said.

Around the Web