Community Centre Rented to Chinese Businessman; Villagers Enraged

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Updated: September 12, 2016

 

Last week, Love News received reports that the community center in the Village of Pomona had been rented by a Chinese businessman who had already begun setting up shop there. Villagers there have expressed their vexation and concerns on the matter to Love News saying that whoever gave permission for the renting and leasing of the community center is out of order. However, the Village Chairman, Aaron Baide told Love News that the center has not been in use for over five years and it’s in the best interest of the community to lease the building to the businessman. The lease has not been finalized as Baide says that he is sending a request to the Minister of Rural Development requesting permission to do so.

AARON BAIDE

“The only mistake that we made was that we did not consult with everybody in the village. We should have consulted with everyone to get everyone’s approval to vote on it to see if everyone agreed with the terms of the agreement and so on. When it comes to the agreement I believe that Mr.Chen is giving us a fairly good deal since the place is not in use, the place is deteriorated. He wants to invest $20,000 in it and just give the village $300 per month for that I don’t see that as being a very bad deal I see that as government saving money as well as providing security for the space for three years so that people don’t break it up again.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO

“With who did Mr.Chen come in contact with to propose this deal? Was it with you?”

AARON BAIDE

“Well he came to me and he asked me about it and I told him that I had to consult the rest of the village council members and so that is what I did, I went to the rest of the council members and they said that it was a good idea and they didn’t see anything wrong with it.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO

“Is Mr.Chen using the community center now?”

AARON BAIDE

“No he is not. What I was trying to do was to get a letter out to everybody and do the consultation on Wednesday so that I could clarify everything.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO

“So if this deal is made with Mr.Chen to rent out the community center for two to three years would it then mean that the community would no longer have a community center/ hurricane shelter?”

AARON BAIDE

“Like what I said before they don’t have a community center nor a hurricane shelter right now, the place is not getting used because of the situation, the place is not good and it’s breaking up. We have hurricane shelters here, we also have our multipurpose building.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO

“How would you respond to the criticism that you’re putting the wants of a businessman before the villagers?”

AARON BAIDE

“I don’t see how that would be the case. I think it’s a win win situation, I think it is a way for us to save money as well as getting the building in use because afterwards the person plans to leave the structure there fixed up and everything, he would fix everything and when he leaves from the place everything would be ready for use. I don’t see how it would be me putting the needs of a businessman before the villagers.”

Caught up in the mix is Stann Creek West Area Representative, Rodwell Ferguson. Ferguson asserts that he has had no discussion with the Pomona Village Council in relation to the renting/leasing of the Pomona Community Center. Ferguson says that he has not been privy to any written agreement between the council and Chen. Ferguson has threatened Wave Radio that if they do not retract and apologize, both in word and print, for comments made on its morning talk show against his character then he will be taking legal actions