Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 4th 2017 Contents news A3
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Tarodale residents tell different story of ex-neighbours
"This is it. I am inally going to set-
tle my roots here."
Those were the inal words of
a Trinidad Guardian article pub-
lished in November 2014.
The words, attributed to former
national boxer Wendell Joseph,
were combined with a promise that
Joseph and his wife Erica, a diabetic
amputee, would not move again.
It's an odd promise to make un-
less placed in the context that since
then, between 1998 and 2017, the
couple has moved in and out of six
Housing Development Corporation
(HDC) homes provided by the state.
Yesterday, the couple was allocated
their seventh HDC unit, this time at
Chafford Courts, Port-of-Spain.
The multiple moves have cost the
HDC thousands in remedial costs
for each vacant unit and an addi-
tional $50,000 to retro it the last
allocated house to accommodate
Erica's disability. Yet, the couple
continually ind their way back to
a tent in the open-air of the Brian
Lara Promenade and Queen's Park
A T&T Guardian team visited
their former house in Tarodale on
Wednesday. The house, which was
painted a deep red two years ago,
now sports a half-painted white sur-
face where it faces the road.
The additional work done by the
HDC to accommodate a person
with disabilities, including a wheel-
chair ramp, widened doorways and
a bathroom retro itted for wheel-
chair access, was clear to see.
Neighbours said the house has
been vacant since last October
when the couple packed their be-
longings and left. They were also
eager to go on the record to share
stories of the elderly couple - none
of them were particularly positive.
"They were very aggressive and
always accused someone of doing
"They got along with none of the
neighbours around here. We saw
them on TV and couldn't believe
what they were saying," former
neighbour Claudia John said of
Erica, as she referenced the woman
complained to the media that they
left the house because neighbours
were cruel to them.
John said she was convinced the
Josephs needed both social and
She claimed the street, which
had been relatively quiet since her
family moved there in 2010, was
disturbed by the Josephs' presence
and returned to normalcy after
they left late last year.
Another neighbour, Virginia Mc
Intosh, whose house is alongside
the property once occupied by the
Josephs, said when the couple irst
moved in she befriended Erica.
"I would look out for her and
talk to her because she was this old
lady in a bad way, but then things
McIntosh said simple tasks like
neighbours cutting their yard be-
came a threat to the elderly woman,
who often called the police.
The T&T Guardian contacted a
close relative of the Josephs this
week to get to the root of their per-
"Honestly, I fed up. I see people
trying to talk to them and I just
don't want anything to do with it
The relative, who did not want to
be identi ied but is intimately aware
of the multiple moves, con irmed
the problem had always been the
couple's inability to get along with
"I leave them and don't talk to
them. Every time I go there I never
saw bacchanal or quarrel. I used to
talk to the neighbour. She (Erica)
used to talk to the neighbours, but
then all of a sudden it was a prob-
lem. It is always a problem. Every-
where they go it is a problem."
Confronted with her former
neighbours' counter claims against
her yesterday, however, Erica stood
by her story.
"They wouldn't tell you the truth.
Thank Jesus I have the police re-
ceipt. I reported them. I don't want
anything to do with them people,"
She denied claims she was a
problematic neighbour and insisted
the people of San Fernando were
"The children were cursing me.
The criminals does lie. That entire
street is bad.
"I don't talk to nobody. I never
tell them morning, I never tell them
good night, I don't want to have
nothing to do with them. Sando
people bad, they real bad. They
make my life hell."
Amputee, hubby get 7th home
Erica Joseph could only describe
her feelings as happy yesterday,
after she was given the keys to her
new home at apartment 007, Build-
ing One, Chafford Court, Port-of-
Joseph, 57, an amputee and her
husband Wendell, 64, a former
boxer, were given their seventh
Housing Development Corporation
apartment after living in the open
air at the Brian Lara Promenade
and Queen's Park Savannah and
for the past two years.
The Joseph claim gunmen
chased them away from their last
home at Tarodale, San Fernando,
After their latest woes were
picked up by the media, HDC of-
icials stepped in three days ago
and interviewed the couple at the
Savannah. On Wednesday, mem-
bers of the Ministry of Agricul-
ture's Horticultural Division had
unsuccessfully attempted to move
the couple before the got the good
news from the HDC yesterday.
Erica was all smiles as she ac-
cepted the keys to her home yester-
day. She sat in her wheelchair with
her teddy bear, Grandpa Scrooge,
and doll Pepper.
"I am very happy, no more ISIS
again. They (HDC) came with a ve-
hicle and came with a crew and get
me out," she said.
She will now be paying a $350 a
month rent but said she had to put
Erica said she was very comfort-
able with the new arrangements as
she was close to the Port-of-Spain
General Hospital (PoSGH) and the
"They have to ix the bathroom
and the front door for me to come
out. I don't think I am going to
leave. I am comfortable," she said.
She said when she lived in San
Fernando she paid a driver $500 to
take her to the PoSGH so she could
keep her appointments at the sur-
"I could go down town and buy
my groceries. I have no problem
with this now. Any time I have to
leave here HDC have to be break-
ing down this. They have to break
it down with me," she said.
Erica said she was glad to be i-
nally away from the savannah be-
cause they were verbally abused by
'They used to curse me and tell
me to go. All I wanted was some
place to live. When we igured we
were settled and now I lost all that
money I put into that house," she
said. Wendell was also smiling and
pushed her around the apartment
in the wheelchair.
"The irst thing, I can't comment
I just arrived. I just happy that we
off the road now," he said.
HDC manager Marcia McCleave
said they would continue working
with the family, adding their new
accommodation was permanent.
"It is not temporary," she said.
St Vincent de Paul representa-
tive and St Ann's resident Jeremy
Francis said he had gone to visit
the Josephs at the savannah when
he saw the truck come to get them
and decided to accompany them to
their new home.
"I came to visit them as normal
and I stayed around. I am very
glad," he said. Francis said the
organisation will help them settle
into their new home this weekend.
In an emailed response yester-
day, Housing Minister Randall
Mitchell con irmed they had given
the couple an apartment at Chaf-
Asked what led to the decision,
given that this was the couple's
seventh home, he said: "I am told
that they Mrs. Joseph was recently
discharged from the hospital after
having surgery. They were un-
able to return to their home in
Tarodale, San Fernando, having
been allegedly chased out of that
unit. Subsequently, she and her
husband took up residence in the
Queens Park Savannah.
"The HDC took the decision to
effect the transfer based on a rec-
ommendation made by of icers of
its Social and Community Services
Department, which is guided by
an Emergency Housing Assistance
"This policy encourages the HDC
to act in the case of vulnerable indi-
viduals who live in conditions that
pose immediate threat to health
Told the Josephs' previous neigh-
bours had denied Erica's claims
they were cruel to her, Mitchell
said: "The HDC does not have a
policy to move tenants who cannot
get along with neighbours."
Guardian Media's Khalifa Clyne, left, speaks to a former neighbour of Erica and Wendell Joseph outside the Tarodale
home the couple abandoned.
PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA
From Savannah to Chafford Court
7 HDC homes in 20 years
PLAY WHE: 10.30am: 24(Queen)•1pm: 33(Spider)• 4pm: 35(BigSnake)•6.30pm: 32(Shrimps)•PICK2: 10.30am: 17,16• 1pm: 21,6•4pm: 24,3•6.30pm: 7,21•PICK4: 10.30am: 4,5,8,2 • 1pm: 7,1,5,9•4pm: 5,7,9,3•6.30pm: 0,9,6,3•CASHPOT: 9,10,11,12,16 M:1
In 1998, the Josephs, who lived
with their young daughter, was
allocated an NHA home in Building
Three, Lisas Boulevard, Couva,
where they lived for several years.
They began making complaints
to the HDC about trouble with
neighbours, before eventually
vacating the premises, taking their
daughter with them.
They were allocated a second
unit in Tarodale phase one, though
the exact year remains unverified.
The couple again had problems
with neighbours and vacated the
property, returning to the streets
until media highlighted their
situation and another home was
allocated. In January 2005, they
started living at their HDC unit
on Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain
and was seemingly happy there.
In March 2009 they moved to
the third floor of Building A in
Embacadere, San Fernando, but
complained to the HDC regarding
access for Erica's wheelchair.
In May 2013, they moved to
a ground floor apartment in
Building Q in Embacadere. After
complaining about threats from
neighbours they returned to the
Savannah in 2014. In November
2014, they were allocated a home
at Tarodale, phase two, a three-
bedroom unit on a cul-de-sac.
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