Pines, The

Diary Tuesday 3rd January 1995. In mid october we moved into the Pines, a compound surrounded by a high barbed wire fence. Upstairs there are three bedrooms. The master bedroom has its own bathroom and dressing room. There is a verandah or terrace. Just five yards away there is the terrace of our neighbours facing us. We often eat our breakfast and dinner at the same time and swim in each otherís conversation. We have amazing facilities. A tennis couurt, a badminton court, a squashcourt, a large pool and a gym and even a Jacuzzi and a sauna.

 

The pines is a compound with a single entrance and a road leading down the hill to a dead end. Large square quadruple units line this wide road, with parking facilities either side. The boom is serviced by two men in uniform, one calledMr. Jone and another called Mr. There are several gardeners. One calls himself brownman. I was also advised to call him brownman, but found that difficult. He then offered Alan as an alternative. The compound was designed and built by Alberga Graham and Associates. It is a highly l;uxurious and much desired place of residence. Diplomats and members of leading Jamaican families liove behind the bastion. We did too. We moved. Mr Seagaís sister lived there too. She suffered from cancer. She didnít like children and told me that the houses werenít really meant for children, that the compound was really meant for people without children. She told me this at the pool. As I said we moved. Just before we did a Jamaican moved in, a tubby gentleman, I donít know his name. He was very rich, many airconditioning units attached to the outside wall, he had his part of the garden personalised and expensively relandscaped. He lived opposite the badminton court. The children no longer played there because he would start shouting at them. He had his parking place tarmacked with especially shiny tarmac which distinguished itself easily from the more faded grey stuff us ordinary residents used. One day soldiers entered the compound with guns. Our wealthy man was not at home. He turned out to be a suspected drug-dealer who had ensconced himself in the fortress of respectability and fear that was the pines. Later he returned, when the heat was off.The British Diplomatic Community, many of whom lived in the Pines, were shocked.