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Sav's deputy mayor helps Broughton fire victims with $500,000 donation

Published:Monday | November 20, 2023 | 12:09 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

A donation of half a million dollars has warmed the hearts and opened the floodgates of tears of joy for a Westmoreland family, the victims of a destructive fire that recently destroyed their five-bedroom wooden house in the community of Broughton.

Ian Myles, councillor for the Little London division and deputy mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, provided the $500,000 to Sanika McLauren-Hewitt’s family towards helping to lift them from the ashes of their home.

“Right now she doesn’t have a stable place to stay,” said Jolly-Ann Walker-McLauren, McLauren-Hewitt’s mother.

“My place [house] is not convenient enough for her and her two kids, so please, I am asking you to donate to her so she can have somewhere to live,” she pleaded.

She expressed her family’s appreciation and thanks to Myles, the Jamaica Labour Party councillor in the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, for assisting her family in getting back on their feet.

“He is the real boss. Every day we cry. He is so good to us,” said Walker-McLauren before breaking down in tears.

Her daughter is giving thanks to God that she and her two daughters - four and 13 years old - are alive despite not having a roof of their own over their heads.

The Westmoreland division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade on August 19 reported that they responded and extinguished a dwelling house fire in Broughton, Little London, at approximately 3:19 a.m. According to the fire report, the structure of the house, which was four four-bedroom apartment dwellings, which was constructed of board and zinc and which was owned and occupied by the Hewitt family, was destroyed in the blaze.

“We are giving God thanks that we were not in the house at the time of the fire, because the result would be different. We don’t have a home now, but we have our lives, and for that we are grateful,” McLauren-Hewitt said.

‘One of the hardest battles’

She shared with The Gleaner that losing her house 16 years after she and her husband Derrick Hewitt, who is now studying overseas, worked and built it together, is now one of the hardest realities to comprehend.

“This is one of the hardest battles that I have had to fight, trying to balance life. It is hard, but I am moving on day by day and being grateful about it,” she noted.

McLauren-Hewitt said she was surprised when Myles reached out to her as she did not expect that she would have found herself in such great need.

“I didn’t expect to be one of the people that he would call to offer assistance. He told me not to worry, he will be there for me,” she said of her political representative.

“I am beyond grateful. My heart is overwhelmed just to see how much he stood up for me,” she stated.

According to Myles, recently the fire destroyed her house, leaving the mother and her school-age son without a roof over their heads and unable to find a comfortable place among friends and family.

“She lost everything, and as it is now, she doesn’t have anywhere to stay,” Myles told The Gleaner. “And as the leader, I found it fitting to do something in making this presentation today for half a million dollars.”

He noted that his financial donation was not enough to completely restore their home and living conditions to what they was before and, as such, he is pleading with corporate Westmoreland and Jamaicans in general to lend a hand to this family.

“This in itself is a drop in the bucket based on where material cost is these days. It can’t put her back on her feet totally,” Myles said.

“I am calling on corporate Jamaica to partner with us in assisting her in ensuring her life comes back to normalcy,” the deputy mayor pleaded.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com

For persons who would love to contribute to the rebuilding of this family house, you may donate using her banking information.

Banking information: Sanika McLauren Hewitt, CIBC, Savanna-la-Mar Branch Account Number: 1 0 0 2 1 9 5 2 2 6