Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 9th 2015 Contents B6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 9, 2015
She lives in fear and it is twofold.
To Debbie Mauge-Antoine, the keys
to a new HDC home is not just a dream
come true, but may very well mean a
matter of life and death.
The ironic thing, though, is that
Mauge-Antoine already lives in a HDC
single unit, but needs to be relocated
for two urgent reasons.
One aspect of her plight has been
ventilated before, via the television and
newspapers, but has never brought any
The other issue she has to cope with
is the fear that an estranged relative
will return to her home and finish what
he had been threatening to do for several
It has been five long months since
she started recovering physically and
mentally from the scarring damage of
being knocked down and chopped
about the body by the relative.
The vicious attack took place at the
front of her HDC unit at 22A Southern
Gardens, Warden Road, Point Fortin.
In 2009, when she was first handed
the keys to the unit, she recalled being
happy, but a little skeptical because of
the many structural damage. The house
was handed over to her as an emergency
haven because of a domestic dispute.
Mauge-Antoine, who is a mother
of three and grandmother of three,
remembered moving in and being
assured that the house would be
repaired while she resided there.
Producing documents in support of
this claim, she said she had been asked
to list all the visible defects and they
would be addressed in due time. This,
however, never occurred and has in fact
gotten worst with time.
Her walkway, which appears pass-
able, was redone with money from her
own pockets when the cracked concrete
eventually separated and became haz-
Many jagged cracks run alongside
electrical sockets and switches in her
Her situation is so dire that an
ombudsman for the area had highlight-
ed her case in a report in 2010. In that
report, the ombudsman had supported
her claims for concern over safety and
deemed the house "poorly constructed
and a danger to its occupants."
Mauge-Antoine showed Guardian
clippings from another newspaper dated
2011, which also highlighted the damage
to the structure. She has contacted
MPs, councillors, ministers, and even
the man on the street to have her sit-
uation remedied, but to no avail.
The soft-spoken woman recalled a
glimmer of hope when showed another
nearby unit by an HDC official, and
told to purchase a new lock and key
and clean the yard in preparation for
relocation. Instead, she saw the house
being occupied shortly after by another
She admitted that she tried to force
the hands of HDC by discontinuing
her monthly mortgage of $1,000-plus,
but this move backfired. She had to
take a loan to repay the hefty arrears
after being served with eviction letters.
She was also told that no relocation
would be facilitated if the arrears
Mauge-Antoine has almost settled
As long as her alleged abuser has the
possibility of being granted bail, she
remains in fear that he will return to
her present location.
Before being placed there, she had
lived at Cedros, but it had not taken
her estranged relative too long to find
her.She noted that most people traverse
through Point Fortin to get to Cedros,
and her two jobs as a security officer
at locations in Point Fortin did not leave
her much room to remain safe.
"I did not want to involve my family
too much because I have read so
many incidents where the abuser
turns on close relatives. I could
not live with myself if something
had happened to anyone because
of me. I have daughters, a mother,
sisters, but I am afraid even for
their safety. He knows where they
all are. I am pleading with HDC
to get me out of south Trinidad
before I become another statistic,"
she said, looking down at her per-
manently damaged hand.
Looking at her face, one would
never guess that after the bloody
attack that her nose hanged by a
piece of flesh and her left hand,
which she used to ward off a chop
aimed to her head, had a gaping
wound down the middle.
Mauge-Antoine feels as if a
restraining order is just a piece of
paper to an abuser who is as deter-
mined as he appears to be. Abused
people cannot live permanently in
safe houses or shelters, and she
does not want to be a burden on
the State, she added.
The matter is before the courts
and her alleged attacker remains
behind bars since he had violated
a restraining order which stipulated
he was to stay away from her and
her premises. She said she had
made numerous reports and calls
each time the restraining order
was breached at both her job and
"I can work two jobs anywhere
in Trinidad and Tobago. I don t
even mind having to finish pay off
the arrears here and pay rent at
another home, once they (HDC)
willing to see this is my life we are
talking about, I could have died.
I just want somewhere far from
here, where I can feel safe and re-
build my life. Please HDC, help
keep me safe!!!"
Abused mom pleads:
Please HDC, help keep me safe
When contacted, an official at the office of HDC's managing
director, Jearlean John, relayed this message, "Miss John said the
issue is a domestic dispute, and she did not wish to comment."
JOHN: NO COMMENT
A crack in the HDC home of
Links Archive August 8th 2015 August 10th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page