Ramon Miller running in London in 2012, right, and the house he built on land gifted by the government. House photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
OLYMPIC gold medalist Ramon Miller says he feels unwanted by his own country following a years-long battle to gain infrastructure for his home that was built on land gifted by the government.
The 2,600 square foot home on a rugged dirt road is perched on a 20,000 sq ft piece of land tucked away in acres of thick vegetation off a paved Tropical Gardens road.
Mr Miller ran the anchor leg for The Bahamas’ 4x400 metre relay team at London in 2012, a race that brought home gold. He was given the property in 2014. Mr Miller said he was elated to receive the sprawling property to build a dream home for his wife and children.
The home was completed in 2018.
Despite following all of the correct procedures and seeking to have lamp poles for electricity and water infrastructure placed, Mr Miller said there has been “roadblock after roadblock”.
He said there has been no movement despite him writing to former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis for intervention. He said he also spoke to Dr Minnis in person on one occasion and had two in person meetings with former Prime Minister Perry Christie.
He said he was also in contact with former Works Minister Desmond Bannister.
He also questioned both the Water and Sewerage Corporation and Bahamas Power and Light to have utilities put in place.
Due to this dilemma, he has had to have a water well installed and continuously runs a diesel generator at a cost of $250 per week.
It is a sacrifice he says he makes so that his children can do their assignments, and everyone is comfortable.
“I decided to go through the process of building,” Mr Miller said of the months after receiving the property. “I got all of my permits. I went through the proper channels. I got all of the documents. I got the permit number. I got the foundation approved, my roof approved, plumbing approved.
“Who doesn’t want to put their family in their dream home and, of course, utilising the gift that the government gave and go for it. Of course, I could have ventured off and bought a home, but I wanted to show the Bahamian people that I appreciated the gift that they gave me and building something here, it showed that, hey, I am making my statement here.”
Initially the process was smooth sailing and at no point in time did anyone reveal there could be issues getting the needed infrastructure put in place. Mr Miller said there are homes with water and light about 200 feet away from his house.
“No one said anything of that sort. I got the permit and started the building process. I built the foundation, and nobody ever came to me and said ‘I don’t think that is a good idea to build back there because it may be hard or difficult.’ But I am thinking why it should be hard or difficult if this is a gift from The Bahamas.”
He continued through to completion hoping it would motivate officials to do what was needed.
“But it has been roadblock after roadblock, and I have tried every avenue.
“I even told them I would pay for the lamp posts and go away and see if I could bring them in instead of running a generator all the time because it’s costly.
“I was willing to foot the cost as best as possible, but like I said roadblock after roadblock.”
Recently, his main sizable generator is out of service because it needs a part, so the family has resorted to using a smaller one.
“If the generator is off, the water doesn’t function well. I have a tank but the water would last about two flushes, or three flushes and we wash our hands and sanitise but it won’t last all day unless the generator is on.”
The situation has left him dejected.
“It doesn’t make me feel good,” he said. “I must say. Neither do I feel wanted or appreciated even though I want to pay for it,” Mr Miller said.
When contacted for comment, Dr Minnis told this newspaper that a contract “was approved for infrastructure” to Mr Miller’s area.
However, it is unclear why the infrastructure has not yet been put in place.
Attempts to secure comments from other officials were fruitless yesterday.