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Empty promise?

House yet to be built for 17-y-o and his family

Friday, January 11, 2019

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THE 17-year-old who was promised a house for Christmas by Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie, started the New Year wondering if the pledge will be fulfilled.

The minister, who learnt about Raheem Powell's plight after last year's Jamaica Observer front-page story 'No birth certificate' detailed the teenager's separation from the formal education system and his current craving for knowledge, promised the family that they would be given a house for Christmas.

“When it was brought to my attention it touched me in many ways,” McKenzie said during a press briefing at his Hagley Park Road offices last November.

He said then that the ministry's technical team had already started the process for the house, and they were hoping that they would be able to complete the construction of the house before the end of the year, “so at least the new year will catch them in new surroundings”.

However, when the Observer visited the family last week Wednesday, there was no indication that any new construction had started at the property.

Last Friday, the ministry, in an e-mailed response to the Observer, said that the “special housing intervention for 17-year-old Raheem Powell and his family (mother and brother) is scheduled to begin at the end of this month. The project was originally slated for completion in December 2018, but this unfortunately did not materialise as required procurement processes had not yet been completed”.

— Racquel Porter


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