Less than two weeks ago, someone set fire to boat moulds owned by Bradley’s Boat Yard, previously located in Belize City. It relocated some time ago to a property off the Burrell Boom-Hattieville Road just outside Burrell Boom village. But the move has raised the ire of villagers, who are already complaining that work being done at the boat yard is literally making them sick. News Five’s Aaron Humes got both sides of the story on Saturday.
Aaron Humes, Reporting
If the residents of Burrell Boom, particularly long-timer Lincoln Gillett, had their way, the answer to having Bradley’s Boat Yard in operation in their village would be a resounding no.
Lincoln Gillett, Burrell Boom Resident
“I am not in agreement with that activity, because there was some boat works there many years ago, and finally the Jamaican guy who was there trying to establish this decided that [there was] too much opposition. But they had a right because one: in this village, they could be down there as the wind shifts, and I live upwind form it and I still smell the residue. And I am allergic to anything that has to do with that kind of fiber glass activity – the smell.”
“And how far you live from it?”
“Not very far; I’d say about three hundred yards, but the wind shifts.”
“And there are people who live closer than you to the development?”
“As a matter of fact I have one of my dear elder friends; she has a problem with her lungs and it affects her, but she doesn’t have a voice. As I say she’s my dear friend, and many times my concern is about what happens to her. If you say, well, she’s on her way out anyway – no, that’s not it. The bottom line is that it shouldn’t be there; we have land all over and if you wanted to do something of that nature, do it not on the periphery; do it on the outskirts.”
Village chair Erlene Baptist-Pandy says similar concerns have been expressed at a village meeting but for now there is no actual activity going on.
Erlene Baptist-Pandy, Chair, Burrell Boom Village Council
“They had a meeting; I wasn’t here, I was in the States. They had a meeting so I don’t know what came out of it; all I heard was that thre was chaos at the meeting, that’s all I heard. We are still waiting on D.O.E. to see what they are going to do with Mr. Bradley and his boat property.”
“I understand that he doesn’t have official clearance from them to go through?”
“But Mr. Bradley is not doing anything; he’s not doing any sort of work on his boat – he’s just bringing them up and putting up his building; there’s nothing going on.”
“So it would seem strange that if he’s not doing any work, people would just come and burn his…?”
“Exactly. It’s just a few people, it’s not the entire Burrell Boom village – it’s just the people as a matter of fact, living in front of him, those are the ones that have the problem; one family really have the problem with him.”
Gillett contends that it is not about driving Bradley out of business, but making that business safer for residents of the village.
“It has to come to an end; they have to find another location for that place. And I’m saying that [not] because I don’t want the man to do business; but do it where you can be safe and the residents and the elder folk especially – you would be surprised to know that next door to where that activity is, one of my friends – he is there, and his wife is also having problems. I am living next door to that and they are living next door…look at that. You’ve got to think about others and I think that in this case, just move it a little out of the way. We have electricity running all over the place. Move it.”
Owner of Bradley’s Boat Yard, Steven Bradley, declined an interview of any kind with News Five when we visited his property in Burrell Boom on Saturday. He did note that he is awaiting a response from the Department of the Environment as to clearance for his work as a popular boat-maker to continue. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.
Beyond an initial report police and fire department have made no announcements about the progress of the arson investigation.