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Who'd Take High Road?

EDITOR, The Tribune

There has been a lot of talk in the past concerning #1 Windsor Avenue and Village Road being a residential area, even newspaper articles written on the subject.

When the article was written it was in 2011. I did not respond because I wanted to see if anyone would take the high road and do the right thing.

There are always two sides to a story, and sometimes three; his side, her side and the truth. But to get to the truth one MUST hear both sides, to make a sensible decision. Doesn’t matter who is your friend or what position they hold, right is right and wrong is wrong.

In 2011, I applied to the Department of Physical Planning to have my property, #1 Windsor Avenue and Village Road zoned commercial. It was denied. I went before the Board who also denied my request saying that the area was residential. I asked the Board about the three commercial buildings on Shirley Street that are on residential plots. I was told that Shirley Street was different from Village Road, I asked how, I was told by the Director at that time, “It just is”.

I wrote Minister Bannister, who passed it on to his Asst PS, Ms Antoinette Thompson for execution. After weeks of back and forth, I got No Response.

In January, 2017, through Commonwealth Realty I obtained a letter from the Department of Physical Planning stating, and I quote, “With regard to the above caption (Zoning Inquiry – Ms Maude Lockhart resident situated Village Road – Lot #1 Montague Heights), this letter is to confirm that the subject lot is zoned for Commercial development. Any further inquiry can be made at the Department”. Mr Zonicle refused to accept the letter because he said it was done without his knowledge. The gentleman is an Inspector, he does this type of research every day, why would he put himself in jeopardy? I had a sale for the property but it fell through because Mr Zonicle refused to accept the letter.

Mr Zonicle was asked why my property was denied commercial zoning, when Shirley Street has three commercial buildings on four residential lots, he said that he slipped and he had no intention of doing it again and if I want to take it to court, I must go and do so.

I went to Mr Zonicle’s office to speak with him concerning the letters, he spoke to me as if I were a dog, like I was nothing!! I cannot begin to express the disappointment and hurt I felt. Shouting insults, not allowing me to talk. I just never thought he would ever talk to anyone the way he spoke to me. Man was he ticked, but why? I know Neighbourhood Associations have a voice in deciding what happens in the area and I am not disputing that, but to deliberately block someone from moving forward, on to something better for themselves?

I understand Mr Zonicle and the Association’s frustration with me because I kept coming back to this because I felt I was being discriminated against.

Another meeting was called in October, 2019. Out of frustration, I guess, some of the Association representatives got up and started attacking Mr Zonicle saying that he promised them that the matter would not come up again. I guess I was supposed to be silenced and afraid after Mr Zonicle spoke to me like a dog in his office and just shrink back.

I wonder if anything was offered to stop my property from being commercial? I wonder. One of the members said in the meeting frustrated, “Physical Planning need to do their job”. Physical Planning cannot do their job when the Association keep asking for favours and promises. In my opinion that’s treachery and corruption!

The bottom line is:

  1. The four residential lots that have been made commercial was agreed by both Mr Zonicle and the Neighbourhood Association. 2. The letter from Physical Planning is a legal document and should have been honoured.3. Mr Zonicle and the Association should have known they were breaking the Covenant, which left the door open to other properties.I am not asking the Association or Mr Zonicle for any favours, but that I be given the same opportunity as other people. I think that the actions of the Association and Mr Zonicle have been underhanded, discriminative, deceitful, arrogant, selfish and I could go on.

Three messages were sent to Mr Zonicle regarding the rescheduling of a meeting with the Subdivision Board. To date, there has been no response.

I have spoken to at least six different friends who are lawyers and a police officer concerning this matter and they are all shocked at Mr Zonicle and the Association and think that it’s political, however the police think it’s something more sinister. I think it’s both.

I have no one to fight for me, I have to stand and fight for myself, even if that means standing alone.

We as Bahamian people need to learn to stand together for what is right. We all make mistakes and fall short but to deliberately block someone from moving to a better way of life!? WOW!

Because someone who is in power, has wealth or knows people that are, does not give them the right to push you around or deny you your rights or talk to you any way they want.

Everything has a time limit, which means that there is an expiry date to everything, it will come to an end. The only thing that is constant is God and what we compromise to keep, we will lose. Let it not be said that you were a tyrant while you are there! You can never step out on the wrong foot and end up right.

I end with this scripture Isaiah 33:1, which says – “Woe unto you who have spoiled and have not been spoiled, who have dealt treacherously and have not been dealt treacherously with. When you have ceased to spoil, you shall be spoiled and when you have ceased to deal treacherously, then you shall be dealt treacherously with.

As we are seeing the Bible unfold right before our very eyes, know that everything will pass but the word of God will stand forever.

Thank you for allowing me space to express my views.

MAUDE LOCKHART-BRAUNLICH

Nassau,

July 24, 2020.

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