Ten years ago, Rose Watson had grand dreams of returning from Canada to settle in her childhood hometown of Dean Pen, St Mary, where she had planned to enjoy her retirement years in peace.
However, those plans have been shelved because of the abuse she said she has been facing as a returning resident.
The 65-year-old nurse’s assistant said she has been trying to build her house and start a life in Jamaica, but the process has been stalled.
Watson estimated that it would have taken just five years and approximately $4 million to build her house consisting of one bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and garage, but it is now taking close to 10 years and almost twice the cost.
“I want to finish it now, but I’m broke,” Watson lamented, while pointing to sections of her unfinished house to highlight the flaws.
“The measurement is wrong. The material is poor. As you can see, the wall is lean and the block pockets were not filled. The height of the house was not right. The columns are not symmetrical. Even though you are not a contractor, you can see for yourself that it’s all wrong,” Watson said.
She also showed our news team her cracking walls and an obvious dip in her decked roof, where water had been gathering and seeping into the house.
She explained that she was not able to oversee the work on her house while she was away in Canada, but she hired contractors to do the work. However, on each return to Jamaica to observe the progress, she was faced with disappointment.
Watson said she is heartbroken by what she calls the terrible treatment meted out to her, and is calling for a system to be implemented in the county to protect returning residents from such injustices.
Percival LaTouche, president of the Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents, said he has seen many similar situations and his association has worked hard to prevent them for recurring, but it is difficult without assistance from the Government.
“The government needs to assist because these people who are coming back are solid investors. Apart from Digicel, returning residents are the largest employers in the country. They employ carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, gardeners, and a whole lot of people,” LaTouche said.
He added that all returning residents should get in touch with the association so that they can be properly guided.