Gulfstream resident stabbed during fight

  • Housing crackdown: residents at Gulfstream housing complex have been asked to follow a code of conduct after alleged antisocial behaviour and rule-breaking (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Housing crackdown: residents at Gulfstream housing complex have been asked to follow a code of conduct after alleged antisocial behaviour and rule-breaking (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A man was stabbed and a woman arrested over the weekend at an East End housing complex.

Police said a fight broke out between residents at the Gulfstream rooming house on Tommy Fox Road in St George’s on Saturday night.

A 29-year-old woman allegedly stabbed a 34-year-old man in the upper torso, at about 8.20pm, after the two argued.

A 28-year-old woman was allegedly scratched in the neck during the fight, which was broken up by Gulfstream security.

Police said the three residents knew one another.

The woman remained in custody last night, but a police spokesman said this afternoon she had been released on police bail, pending further inquiries by the Criminal Investigation Department.

The man was treated in hospital and discharged.

The incident came days after families at the emergency housing complex were warned that people could be evicted for rule-breaking in a crackdown on antisocial behaviour.

However, residents at Gulfstream aired a string of their own complaints about living in the units including rats, mould, as well as the behaviour of security staff, at a meeting with the site’s owner the Bermuda Housing Corporation.

The meeting, held last Thursday, was called to tackle problems such as threats, violence, weapon-carrying, smoking and drug use.

Major Barrett Dill, the BHC general manager, said residents of the St David’s complex had expressed “escalating concerns”.

He added: “Recently, we have had multiple complaints about people being unhappy at the Gulfstream facility.”

Major Dill said: “The meeting was called because there is some dissension among the residents of Gulfstream and we have been instructed by our minister responsible for housing that that type of behaviour is no longer to be condoned.

“When we say that type of behaviour, we’re talking about fights, we’re talking about threats of physical violence, and we’re talking about smoking or drinking of illegal substances and in some cases legal substances over what is considered to be normal.

“If you are found to be doing things like that, then the instruction is eviction.

“We have tried very hard to prevent multiple evictions, simply because, if you are evicted from Gulfstream or Langley House, where else are you going to go?

“The short answer, from our research, is there are not very many opportunities to go anywhere else.

“If we cannot control the behaviours that are happening down there, then the ultimate result will be the closure of these facilities.

“I’m going to ask you to ask yourselves, if that facility closes, where are we going to go?”

Major Dill said the corporation wanted to hear ideas about how the complex could be made more comfortable for residents, but reminded them that it was designed to offer short-term, transitional accommodation.

He added that Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, who is responsible for BHC, would attend a second meeting if one was needed.

A resident asked when the BHC would engage a private firm to deal with an “infestation” of rodents and highlighted “access points” that let rats into the building.

Desiree O’Connor, the services manager for BHC, said that last May was the first time the corporation became aware of a rat in the building and a Vector Control team had laid bait.

Major Dill added that further steps would be introduced to tackle the pests.

Another Gulfstream inhabitant said that mould was “a big issue” and that a young child suffered from bronchitis because of it.

Major Dill told the resident that steps were taken “immediately” after reports of mould and if tests confirmed there was a problem, residents were removed until remedial work was carried out.

One woman suggested that a residents’ panel could be established to help deal with problems.

She said: “We do know that there are a portion of people who don’t pay, but there are still a great number of people that have been reliable and we do not get incentives, we are treated just like rats, so it doesn’t encourage us to want to help you — and we do.”

She added: “We also want harmony in the building.

“There were will be no harmony unless each of us trust each other and there is too much secrecy.”

The sometimes heated meeting heard that Gulfstream was a non-smoking building and although smoke drafted down hallways, it was sometimes difficult to tell where it had come from.

A resident asked whether security staff checked on rooms where they suspected smoking or if they “assumed” where it came from.

He also asked what happened if security workers “step outside” of the Gulfstream rules.

Other concerns were around strict adherence to regulations like kitchen closing times and allowing entry to someone for a short period to assist with groceries.

Residents were told that a new code of conduct would be issued to outline what was expected of everyone involved at Gulfstream.

Ms O’Connor admitted that antisocial behaviour was “to be expected in these types of environments”, but added that it was important to deal with it appropriately”.

She said Gulfstream had 79 rooms and there were about 50 children among the residents.

Ms O’Connor added: “These children in this building can be influenced easily by the adult behaviour.”

She said management had dealt with assaults, brandished weapons, “some child neglect”, smoking cigarettes and illegal drugs, visitors staying overnight against the rules, banned persons on the property as well as people climbing in windows, over the past few months.

She added: “There are a number of things that we are looking at doing because there are doors that are broken, there is security that’s not working ... and work we have to put in place, but a lot of that is conditional on you doing the right thing.”

Ms O’Connor told residents that payment arrears at Gulfstream totalled almost $412,000.

Constable Simon Joseph, the St George’s Parish Constable, said police had received “too many” calls to Gulfstream and that the police were concerned for the children living there.

He added that police were aware housing rules were not properly enforced.

Mr Joseph said: “Some of the complaints that we have received from the tenants are about the way that the security personnel operate with them, deal with them, is not fair.”

The constable admitted he had not spoken to security guards and that there was always more than one side to a story.

But he urged security staff: “Don’t be biased to some people.”

One resident said: “You’ve got people staying at the building that have been there for many years and all they have been is nothing but trouble.

“They’re still living there, with no rule, no regulations, nothing.”

Major Dill said: “From this point forward, if people are in breach of the rules and regulations then they will be evicted.”

Rickeisha Burgess, operations manager at GET Security, which serves Gulfstream, said her team was employed to “uphold the rules of the building”.

She said: “I can’t speak for what happens when different guards are there, because I’m not there.”

Update: This story was updated after police revealed that the woman was released on police bail pending further inquiries

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Published Nov 25, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm)

Gulfstream resident stabbed during fight

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