Relocated Innswood residents want Internet access for their children

March 26, 2021
 Phillip Jones was among the persons relocated from Innswood Estate to Ebony Park Settlement in St Catherine.
Phillip Jones was among the persons relocated from Innswood Estate to Ebony Park Settlement in St Catherine.

Relocated Innswood Estate residents are having mixed feelings as they try to adjust to their new Ebony Park community in St Catherine.

They were forced to relocate last month after their homes were demolished as the state-owned SCJ Holdings prepared the land for new owners. Ebony Park was the agreed destination. But while residents say there is no piped water and some septic systems are malfunctioning, their main concern now is the lack of Internet connection.

Shiddelle Hamilton accommodates many of the community's children who access the Internet via her Wi-Fi hotspot. She had a house full of students when THE WEEKEND STAR visited her on Tuesday, most of them taking turns to use her cell phone to access online classes.

"Most of the time they are right here with me and it's my phone they all use. I have to turn on my hotspot to provide the other devices with Internet, so it's costing me a lot," Hamilton revealed. "It very difficult for me. I have to put credit on to buy data plans and we can't get enough gigabytes. They are having problems with the video classes because those classes take up a lot of gigabyte."


According to Hamilton, for the first two weeks after arriving in Ebony Park, there was no school and coming up with $3,000 per week to purchase data plans is still difficult. So online classes are irregular for these students, some of whom are in grade six. "I think the Ministry of Education should assist these students," she declared.

For Margaret Jones, Internet connection is important, especially for her niece who is in high school. However, she also highlighted other problems that are making adjustment more difficult.

"It is good that we are here. It nice to call it ours even though we are not sure because we don't get a title. But, at the same time, there is no running water and the sewage system is not ready," she stated. Jones said the street lights are inadequate because they are solar lights and at nights, the area is still dark. She pointed to the dirt road leading into the community that needs urgent attention because it is presently a dust nuisance.

She believes that if these issues are addressed, the community that is close to health centres, a market and a number of schools, could thrive.

"We all shared the same problems," stated Crystal Walker. "But the entire place is flooded out whenever we have rain. Also a lot of insects, especially scorpions, are here and they crawl into our houses."

Walker said somebody should meet with them to discuss titling arrangements because they would not want a repeat of what forced them to relocate.

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