Thu | Dec 7, 2023

Cornpiece Settlement resident in race against time for better living conditions

Published:Thursday | April 21, 2022 | 12:08 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Claudette Montaque of Cornpiece Settlement in Hayse, Clarendon, shows the termite-infested board on the house she nows lives in.
Claudette Montaque is appealing for help to complete a one-bedroom house, so that she can move from the dilapidated structure in which she now lives.
Claudette Montaque fights to hold back the tears as she appeals for help to complete a house before the hurricane season starts.

As the days draw nearer to the upcoming rainy season, Cornpiece Settlement, Clarendon resident, 60-year-old Claudette Montague is on edge. She dreads the hurricane season, which, she said, will be a trial for her.

Montague, who sells shopping bags and masks on the streets of May Pen, told The Gleaner that she is in a race against time to have a good roof over her head.

However, thanks to caretaker for the area Marsha Kirlew, who reached out to Member of Parliament for the constituency, Pearnel Charles Jr, Montague said she got 1,000 blocks and some steel to begin construction on her house.

Although her three children are unable to assist financially, she said her son, who lives in Spanish Town, enlisted the assistance of a friend and worked on the house, taking it to where it is now.

“The rainy season coming and mi really want to come out of it. Every time mi see rain start dew (sic), mi haffi a beg God fi hold it,” she said.

Montague, who was overcome with emotions while speaking, insisted that she “really, really needs the help,” in an effort to convince others of her cry for a helping hand.

From the vending she does, Montague said it is only by the grace of God that she is able to make enough to put food on the table for herself and her grandson, who lives with her.

Calculating her fare at $340 for the day to get to May Pen, she said that most times she makes between $2,000 to $3,000 from her selling.

Listing her expenses, she said that it costs her $3,000 weekly to take her grandson to school and pick him up in the evenings. She is, however, thanking God for small mercies as she said her sister allows her to use her water and light, so she isn't stuck with those expenses.

While the house is a more pressing matter for her, Montague also has an enlarged thyroid, but has to live with it because she has no money to have it removed.

“The last time I went to the doctor in Mandeville, he said it was $150,000; plus I have to do some tests, and it cost a lot of money. I already did the ultrasound and it is not cancerous, but I want to remove it,” she said, concerning the discomfort of walking around with the huge swelling under her chin.

Montague is hoping that some Good Samaritan will have pity on her and assist in completing the structure, which still has a way to go.

“If my kids had it they would help, but they are struggling, too,” she said as she made a final plea for help.