BVI News

JVD family living in horrid ‘caveman’ conditions with no gov’t help

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

At least one family on Jost Van Dyke has been forced to take their daily baths in the ocean because of their chronically poor living conditions that are without basic utilities such as power and water.

For 14 months after Hurricane Irma destroyed their home, Sidney Hendricks and his wife Wendy lived under tents. Government then moved them into what was supposed to be temporary housing dome.

But nearly two years later, the family is still occupying the structure in the parking lot of Sidney’s Peace & Love Restaurant in Little Bay Harbour on the sister island.

Mrs Hendricks said although her dome has all the components needed to facilitate having water and electricity, it is still without those utilities despite many promises made by the government to ensure those lines and pipes were connected.

“I don’t know what to do,” she told BVI News after numerous failed attempts to get assistance from the Ministry Health & Social Development. “I’m bathing in the ocean with Joy [liquid] soap — the only thing that soaps up in seawater. And drinking water: I have to carry three gallons from about one mile.”

“Right now we’re cooking outside with a concrete block and two rocks with some kind of a grill on top and we need an open fire to cook. It is so bad at this point it’s like we’re living in caveman times,” the frustrated woman told our news centre.

Haven’t had a good meal in months

Mrs Hendricks — a former educator at the then BVI High School — said her current job as a yoga instructor had suffered severely with all income ceasing to exist since COVID-19 and the halt on tourism to the BVI.  

As a result, she’s had get help from the Family Support Network to gain access to groceries when food packages were available. However, she said it has been months since she had a proper meal and, at the time of the interview, her family was on its last two cans of tuna.

“I have been existing on Vitaplex, some vitamins I finally got, some crackers, a couple cans of tuna fish, corn beef which makes me sick, and white flour and sugar which also makes me sick. So I am basically not eating much of anything. I had pizza on a Sunday and some nice lady, Ms Gomez, brought me a large ice cream in White Bay and that is all I have had, and not eaten since,” she stated.

Living conditions deplorable

The Jost Van Dyke resident also said the composition of the dome has caused it to grow mould, which when combined with the lava infested cistern from the restaurant, presents a hazardous living environment.

“It is a public health hazard and I have been alerting them (government) since six months after Irma when they gave us a tent. I ended up in the hospital twice with a severe bacterial infection. The tent pretty much fell down around us. Vincent Wheatley gave us another tent and I lived in that tent until that too fell down from around me. I pleaded with the government, I sent them photos and no one has done nothing at all since.”

“I finally came back here into the dome covered in mould. All black on the ceiling and with the fibreglass we wake up in the morning with fine particles of fibreglass in our eyes. This temporary housing is only meant for six months because of this health factor, because of how it responds to heat and the fibreglass-leaking,” she explained.

Lots of emails sent with no responses

Mrs Hendricks further said she is one of the residents on the sister island who had been approved to benefit from government’s initiative to provide permanent and semi-permanent houses to persons who lost their homes due to the hurricanes.

That approval was two-and-a-half years ago.

She said it has been far too long since she has gotten updates from any official, despite sending countless emails to members and departments of the present and past government, including the Minister for Health & Social Development Carvin Malone and Premier Andrew Fahie.

“I’ve had quite enough of this. They came and made bids on the house. We had an entire agreement. I went in and shook hands, I met with Carvin Malone twice. He agreed that every component of my application had been submitted and been long approved through Finance and I have never received a phone call. He blocked me from his messenger site and I’ve submitted letters to his secretary and left messages and to no avail.”

“We still do not have any action. The house is still currently not built in any way, no back-up has come and we are still sitting in this dome where you walk around on the deck and you’re about to go through. The saturated weak plywood where the dome sits on top of is an extreme health hazard. I have to get out of here to go sit down in the restaurant under the overhang in the afternoons because my eyes start to stick together,” she further said.

Locals too proud to admit

Mrs Hendricks said she was forced to speak up about her experience after things had gotten to the extreme worse, and believes that a lot of people are suffering in silence.

“I’m not the only one. But, as you know, legally native BVIslanders of which I am, are often too proud to speak up. They will rather give their last crumb to their children and never admit to anyone that they are in any severe hardship,” she said.

“I’m not just speaking selfishly. I am also looking out for our neighbour Oliver Chinnery who is a severe diabetic and if it wasn’t for me running to Great Harbour and practically in tears for someone to come and get Oliver – he ended up in the hospital for about three days in a diabetic coma. No one cares to come and check on him to see if he’s dead or alive,” she added.

Husband in dire need of surgery

The former educator also revealed that her husband, who has been disabled since an accident he suffered in the 1980s, is in urgent need of two surgeries. He was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, and a hernia more than one year ago.

She said she has since been getting the runaround from local medical staff to do the necessary regular checks, and have had no success with the Social Development Department to put measures in place to facilitate an airlift for her husband to Tortola for the needed surgeries.

“He has been exasperated and he becomes dizzy and then can’t get up and for 24 hours he didn’t move. He would get up to urinate then he won’t make it even out the door and then it started to become bloody,” she described.

“The nurse came over here after her shift and took a look at him and just prescribed antibiotics and haven’t called back since to see how he is and we cannot get medical travels from over there (Tortola) to get to the hospital after speaking directly to the head surgeon of the hospital. I have put into Social Development for medical travel expenses, he ended up in the hospital twice since then. They have not answered,” she added.

BVI News attempted to reach out to the Health Minister Carvin Malone for a comment on the matter but at the time of the publication, our news centre had not received a response.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

61 Comments

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  1. Woww says:

    Ok she white I thought she was island people Government need to help her omg so sad

    Like 6
    Dislike 43
    • Ok says:

      After reading most of the comments below one can see how selfish, racist and cruel the negro Belonger is. When a calamity strikes they cry for help from the white man and the white man helps. When a white needs help it’s ignored. You are a disgraceful lot and in years to come your fate will become clear. Your numbers will dwindle, your poor will become poorer and the wealthy will leave. What a day to look forward to.

      Like 11
      Dislike 30
      • white boy says:

        they have been offered new housing several times and chose not to accept ny offers. What they want is the government to pay to rebuild a house on their land…..catch yourself before you diatribe next time

        Like 44
        Dislike 1
      • Black Nationalist says:

        Negro Belonger YUH MODDA!

        Like 4
        Dislike 1
      • Anonymous says:

        Shut the h**l up, y’all quick to cry racist… is not even married to the man anymore so why is she even still there fighting for Government to build her a house. They are helping him with a house and she thinks its too small. He only need a one bedroom, go the h**l back to where you are from or go and find another place to live since that condition is so deplorable.

      • right says:

        couldnt agreed more, sadly thats why everyone is leaving BVI, locals are damn ignorant and racist…

        Like 1
        Dislike 5
    • Hmm says:

      Well I never ever. No matter the colour of the skin or nationality has the Hendricks applied for their necessities? That would be a first good step. Get up off your behinds and help yourselves.

      Like 13
  2. Ta ta says:

    Has Mitch has not done nothing to help this lady?

    Like 12
    Dislike 9
    • Yes says:

      Yes he has. Mrs. Hendricks does a good job of presenting a sad state of affairs. However there are a number of exigencies which definitely would not put her as a neglected individual.

      Like 15
      Dislike 1
  3. Want2Kno says:

    I thought a legislator recently said there are no poor people in the BVI…didn’t he? Maybe he can provide some of that At Large Assistance….

    Like 8
    Dislike 16
    • poor says:

      Poor they own a restaurant and bar and land they are not poor they just chose to live like that to get what they can,they are g——,there place has been busy for 2 years since Irma so what did they do with all their money….its in the b— while they look for handouts

      Like 10
      • ANNOYED CITIZEN says:

        WENDY NEED TO STOP IT! She is steady blaming government instead of trying to help herself! She had many options! For years I’ve watched her post on Facebook about how bad the government is to her. Looking pity but when asked by commenters WHY not just relocate, is always some made up BS. Wendy when you steady posting your getaways to neighbouring islands on Facebook, enjoying beautiful BVI views you don’t be hurting right?! You ARE a m—-y s— woman! Just like HOW you were m——– s—- when you try to S—-L
        S—– on maintain bag out her store, mashing up her glass display. Woman STFU!

    • SMH says:

      Get over it! Hater!

  4. Hmmm says:

    Wow! I hear no mention of her district representative. Is he not able to assist?

    What is the real issue here? Something here not sounding right.

    Like 18
    Dislike 5
    • Wendy H says:

      Wow, JVD Strong!!! If you haven’t lived or know about our truth and reality…I would shut my ignorant mouth! You’ve obviously had water to bathe and drink and food to eat…daily. We have not! Your blissfully ignorant comments about me are just that. Who feels it knows it. My family took care of me and my husband for as long as they could here. I am not that cruel to selfeshly leave after an unprecedented natural disaster, a pandemic and a total economic collapse, resulting in 0 income. To anyone on this reply forum who responds negatively to us and/or Mich, who is seriously doing all he can to help the people disenfranchised by what I just stated, needs a reality check. THERE ARE NO AND HAVE BEEN NO TOURISTS HERE FOR MONTHS!!! If it were you….how would you eat, get water to drink and bathe, STILL, after 3 1/2 years!??? Thank god our district rep has the human decency to pursue and assist in our unquestionably pathetic living conditions! All who respond negatively and deny the current and irrefutable facts…need to cease your ignorant, useless babbling and go volunteer to help someone far less fortunate than themselves as it’s people like you who keep perpetuating such ugly, disregarding statements. It is what it factually is! I just happen to have the balls to speak out progressively and try to help anyone I see needlessly suffering. Go get help you insensitive morons! Wake up and smell reality!!!!

      Like 10
      Dislike 24
      • answer says:

        Let me retort, yuou have had offers of housing, you chose not to take them as you want the government to build a house on your land.

        There has been 2 full years of tourists since Irma plenty of time to build a house,install water pipes very easily done, if you need any help look at your restaurant pipes yoiu know that place that had been making easy money for the past 2 yers before the tourists stopped coming.

        Like 23
        Dislike 1
      • JVD Strong says:

        Wendy SH*T UP no one is pitying you YOU NEED TO STOP trying to bash the BVI Government Y dont you tell persons that you were offered housing on MANY occasions but you keep refusing stating you are not moving until they build a house on your property since you want something to talk TALK THAT!!!! dont sit there and make people feel sorry for you by looking handouts Everyone on JVD is TIRED …!!!

      • Hilda says:

        Wendy you write very well. How about sending out applications for a jobs? I suggest you send your resume to the Department of Labour, so that they can see what you can do and make a recommendation to a prospective employer when something comes up, so there would be no need for issue a work permit.

  5. L Smith says:

    Mr Malone and Mr premier why is this happening to this woman she one of our own this is not right please help these people in the name of God we call on Everytime we speak 2017 until now they have no home and to hear her conditions you Mr Malone if you are not careful will be a one term minister I wonder if you have a heart. And you minister Turnbull is a waste of time you never mentioned anything about this situation in HOA. These are human being.

    Like 7
    Dislike 35
  6. Guess says:

    I guess only African lives matter.

    Like 15
    Dislike 18
  7. So Many Questions says:

    So Many Questions:
    – Surely they have family?
    – Why not move to Tortola (with family)?
    – Why weren’t they insured (house and business)?

    Like 19
    Dislike 2
  8. Astonished!!! says:

    This is ridiculous and unacceptable added to the lousy excuse or explanation by that representative.

    What happened to the $300,000 that the Gov gave to each representative to take care of their district? For him to say he taking initiative to give people food voucher, what does that mean? what can of initiative is this when you have gov. money in your pocket? How long ago was the monies given to them, (those reps). why should the woman now be on her last can of tuna after not eating well for sometime?

    Secondly, wasn’t RDA suppose to provide decent or reasonable housing for those who lost their houses? They are their giving millions to one contractor who smiling all the way to the bank while the real needed continues to suffer. I know for a fact that this family are not the only ones suffering this inhumane pain. Please Mr Malone and Hon Fahie, you all are better than this, BVI is better than this. Please rise to the occasion and make BVI proud. Absolutely no reason on God’s earth for people to be in this condition 3 years after hurricanes of 2017.BVI has money and should take care of its own.

    Wonder how much the Cuban doctors are being paid and what job are they doing? My heart bleeds for these people. Shame on BVI.

    Like 13
    Dislike 10
  9. Bat S*** C*** says:

    This woman is so c****. Don’t believe any of it. She just wants attention. Isn’t she from a very wealthy family and chooses to live this way? Always drama. BVI News this is not news.

    Like 56
    Dislike 4
    • JVD strong says:

      Yes she is who ever wants to take pity on her can go right ahead Wendy was given housing and refused as SHE stated she is NOT moving off of her property until government builds her a house on it sooooo who wants to help her out go ahead who wants to shed a tear go right ahead Wendy is a great story teller 😂 and is willing to give her Irma stories to anyone that is willing to give her a listening 👂 she has herself that way she needs to STOP blaming the government who has offered her assistance many times and she refused.

      Like 46
      Dislike 2
      • Hmmm says:

        I knew something with the article was missing some info. You shed some light on the article. Thanks for speaking up. I looking forward for the government side.

    • Agree says:

      This comment is more accurate than the article

      Like 33
      Dislike 1
    • Agreed says:

      Don’t believe everything you hear. The government responsiblity to build house for all who lost their house. Where would government get all that money from.

  10. Anonymous says:

    She again!!! She is an American from what I heard. In America she can apply for Welfare checks and get food stamps, no need to stay here and suffer unless it’s by choice.

    Like 34
    Dislike 3
  11. true says:

    They choise to live that way , there restaurant makes plenty of money far more than needed to rebuild of rent a house, this is an old story that they have chosen to bleed out the last morsel,looking for sympathy when they have probably made at least in excess of $——-.00 since IRMA and that figure is lowball.

  12. G says:

    Wendy can go home to her wealthy family however Jojo needs the assistance. His family has their own issues and is of no help to him.

    Like 19
    Dislike 3
  13. She is playing the news says:

    If the government pays to build them a house and provide utilities and food, then we can all quit our jobs and tell the government to do the same. These two are not elderly, they are able bodied, they have family.

    Like 28
    Dislike 2
    • Not So Quick says:

      In a previous story this lady said that she is an American who gained rights through naturalization (a bit different from what she said in this article).

      secondly, I do empathize with persons who lost everything during the hurricanes. However, I also believe in not sitting and crying all day over handouts. Why isn’t she doing more to help herself? If she is a trained teacher, why not go back to teaching? A teacher’s salary isn’t large but it can assist tremendously. I honesty believe that this lady chooses to live in such conditions. Her hope is that government will meet her demands by building her a home. Maybe I need to send them my list of demands too as I also need a home.

      As a taxpayer, I believe in assisting those who can’t help themselves but I am not sure if this lady qualifies as being sincere. I think that government should assist her in with getting a job (perhaps teaching as she taught before and the high school is always in need of teachers). Ince she has a steady income, she should be able to pay for her basic necessities.

      Like 28
  14. Wendy H says:

    Wow, JVD Strong!!! If you haven’t lived or know about our truth and reality…I would shut my ignorant mouth! You’ve obviously had water to bathe and drink and food to eat…daily. We have not! Your blissfully ignorant comments about me are just that. Who feels it knows it. My family took care of me and my husband for as long as they could here. I am not that cruel to selfeshly leave after an unprecedented natural disaster, a pandemic and a total economic collapse, resulting in 0 income. To anyone on this reply forum who responds negatively to us and/or Mich, who is seriously doing all he can to help the people disenfranchised by what I just stated, needs a reality check. THERE ARE NO AND HAVE BEEN NO TOURISTS HERE FOR MONTHS!!! If it were you….how would you eat, get water to drink and bathe, STILL, after 3 1/2 years!???

    Like 1
    Dislike 22
    • Anonymous says:

      Sweetie, you should be more focused on getting a job. You have been wallowing in self pity for way too long. However, I am assuming that you also have a problem with working for others.

      In the meantime, get a good mask and spray the place down with vinegar and water (humbly as your neighbors to spare some if you don’t have). Give your home a good cleaning.
      The government isn’t responsible for the growth of the mild- you are.

      Maybe, if you had presented yourself as a humble person you would have gotten a bit more sympathy. It is possible that more private citizens would reach out to help you but you seemed so focused on getting the government handout. You come across as a bit of a bully so soften your tone when you present yourself in the media.

      Like 22
  15. More to this story says:

    I believe there is a lot more to this story than she is telling. When I first heard of the fmaily’s predicament early last year, I had to same response as everyone. I But later Mitch went over to JVD and there was some government involvement, if I recall correctly. Since then, there have been comments made on FB about the situation from people living on JVD who actually have known this family that have led me to a conclusion that either she is a bit m******* uns***** or she is an attention seeker. Sometimes it is one and the same. And she does have family in the States and he has family in JVD.

    Like 10
  16. Wondering says:

    Is Wendy’s husband known as Miller? Am I confused.

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  17. dfdasd says:

    Disgusting

  18. Haha says:

    Dear President Trump, We found one of your very fine people here in JVD. No need to thank us but if you insist we will take a one way ticket to help her reunite with her family and make America great again.

    Like 21
    Dislike 2
    • Other Side says:

      Careful. There’s someone with the initials “FC” on JVD that is an ardent trump cheerleader. I had to walk away a few years ago so I didn’t have to hear any more of it.

  19. Expat says:

    But the same Irma took my apartment roof too and damage everything inside that we owned and I have 2 young kids BH and the government did not even give us a bed sheet to cover with.

  20. island man says:

    Sooo wait wait the government give this shelter to them other expats were given nothing even though they had kids. At least she could have cleaned the place those pictures shown is the neglence of those l8ving there or does the government have to send a cleaner to clean the place too.

    Like 15
  21. Beatrice says:

    What about the case she had where she allegedly s— something (Hairsource). Whatever became of it? She seems to be an attention seeker, yes!

  22. Proper investigation says:

    Sometimes we need to do a proper investigation before we run with things. BVI News it might have been a good sell at first but sometimes you should take time to get to know some people. SMH

  23. Jill says:

    Hmmm, how did wendy get in this predicament? She not only need to seek out government’s help but she also need to do the same of a mate. She used to own a home and sold it, she used to be an educator. Seems like she also need a m—– evaluation.

  24. Opinion says:

    This is a touching story of squalor at its best. Leaves one to wonder how a professional individual can just sit around waiting on hand-outs instead of finding a meaningful job and helping themselves. Yoga you say! What happened to help from family members and friends?

    Too many people chilling out here waiting for the government of the day to shower them with taxpayers’ hard earned money and wallowing in self pity. Waiting as if society owes them something.

    Rise up and help yourself.

    Like 11
  25. Lily Ann says:

    A white person struggling????? That aint sound right. BVI Govt LOVES white ppl. This woman have GOT to turn down obvious offers and help to still be in this state until now !!!!!!!

  26. Hmmm says:

    The jost van dyke community help each other, so there is something missing from this story. Those guys would have already built a nice wooden comfortable structure if these were upstanding and unselfish citizens. Who dont know will only wonder.

  27. Huh says:

    How you could not have drinking water, but yo have data to comment? Anyways my suggestions are to try to push without the help for a hard as you can

    • Ken says:

      Good point Huh. Obviously priority is in the wrong place.

      Water should not be had to get. The Good lord sends rain. Fix up a tank somewhere so you will always have water. My grandmother used to have a drum with a cloth over it to keep out the dirt, and she always had water.

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