Thursday, January 29, 2015

Domestic Labour: The Architectural Problem

By Torsdag ©

An article in the Economist newspaper dated 17 Dec 2011 titled "Domestic labour: the servant problem" prompted this blog.  It describes the similarities between early 20th century Britain and early 21 century Brazil regarding household servants. I remembered said article at a later date when I stumbled upon a featured house in Dwell magazine, located in São Paulo, Brazil.


The house, artfully situated on a hillside, is sighted to take advantage of the “staggering view of São Paulo”, says the article.  One wends his/her way from the street level upwards to private areas (bedrooms, etc) on the second floor and public living and entertaining areas on the third.  Or vice versa.

garage

dining room

living room

pool

master bedroom
"staggering"sao paulo view

All above photos courtesy of dwell.com

This is a beautiful house by any standard.  Well bashment.  The floorplans give a better understanding of the house’s logic and programming (ie, number of rooms, types of rooms, how they relate to one another spatially, etc.)  A look at the floorplans reveals a most intriguing feature: the stairs. Two sets of stairs exist. Upon close inspection, we see that one is the main stairway and the other, the servant stairway.  The latter is totally separated by a wall and shifted slightly away from the main stairway. I looked closer and proceeded to map out the areas annexed to the servant stairs.  They are (obviously) the ‘service quarters’: bedrooms, bathrooms, eating area; laundry room and corridor to the kitchen.  This portion of the programming occupies a far corner of the overall design, carefully concealed by corners and walls. Servants are not to be seen in this house. (They aren’t even to be in lockstep with the owners when treading the stairs.)



Legend

Note that Service Quarters N is proximous to the Kitchen O, Laundry Room U, children's bedrooms G and outside.

Circulation refers to the way in which one processes through a space.  Two circulation plans exist (highlighted in orange). One for servants (dashed), one for the family.

The São Paulo circulation plan is a throwback to the earlier days (17th century) of house plans that had hidden corridors and rooms for the movement of servants.  These corridors shared walls with the rooms they served, but were unseen, and so not really a part of the house.  So too were those whose job it was to use the corridors. Corridors, at their inception, were thus secondary circulation spaces in houses (the enfilade being primary circulatory space…a topic for another blog.).  

The above floorplan is of Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England.  The principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill (a descendant of the dukes).
(Source: Wikipedia)

As time progressed, the corridor became the primary circulation space in homes and other buildings, yet this ‘modern’ house in São Paulo has relegated the servants’ stairwell to 17th century circulation status.


As a 4-year subscriber to Dwell magazine, this Brazilian house is the first I’ve read of with such programming. 

I suppose real estate listings in São Paulo are not unlike higher end real estate listings in Jamaica, wherein the presence of ‘servant’s quarters’ help define a house’s value and prestige:

cbjamaica.com
The above highlighted portion says: "and two staff quarters consisting of bedroom and bathroom."

I have yet to see a house designed in America, for the average American – or even the above average American, ie, upper middle class -- with servant quarters or "H/Q": helper's quarters, as seen in the below listing: 



("Spanish Colonial" my arse....but I digress....)
  
The Economist article mentioned in opening points out the similarities between Britain in the 1880s and nowadays Brazil.   Same formula: bourgeoning middle class + increased education across the board = scarcity of good help. 

From the Economist:
Typical progression is that as a middle class is created and grows, it wants the same or similar trappings of the wealthy: houses, cars, clothes, education, lifestyle -- including servants.  And also, the notion that bringing a poor unfortunate thing in and giving them servant work [‘young girl from the country’] is viewed as a noble thing. They comfort themselves by believing this.  For this system to work, one needs a continuous supply of uneducated people and a dire condition of income inequality.

“The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” - Voltaire

From the Economist:
“Mistresses* have always complained about servants: employment inevitably creates difficulties, but the relationship is trickier when the workplace is the employer’s home.  The combination of physical proximity and class difference offers a wealth of dramatic possibilities,…”
*By the way, ’Mistresses’ and ‘Mistress’ in this blog refers to the lady of the house.  Not the jump-off/matey/side-chick variety.

But check out how the Brazilian employers and their hired help see each other’s role:

Mistress: They are too dishonest
Maids: She watches my every move
Mistress: She sits on the sofa all day
Mistress: She doesn’t always turn up for work
Maids:  Mistresses too rude – especially those who used to be poor themselves and have now ‘step up inna life’

Sounds familiar?

Brazil is the largest African nation outside of the continent (Africa).  Not many people know that.  Approximately half of the slaves brought over from Africa docked in Bahia, so I once read in a history book.  Yet the only image of a black Brazilian anyone can conjure up is that of Pele.  If there was ever such a thing as an invisible mass, blacks the world over would corner that market. Africans and their descendants the globe over are always racially skewed toward the 'poor' end of the distribution.  We see that everywhere blacks are present in the ‘New World’ or the ‘West’, whichever you prefer.  Worse in South America.

So it came as no surprise to me where the servant labour force in Brazil comes from:

From a related article in the Economist: "The Psychology of Service: Why Have Servants?"
Some Brazilians only employ black maids, says dark skinned Alzira--- “because that’s who is a maid, that’s why.  Some women don’t want a maid they think could be as nice looking and well turned out as themselves, who could compete with them.”  [My emphasis.]

I suppose this also goes for competing with Massa’s bed; a circumstance that has existed for ages and one that is beyond anecdotal in Jamaica.  

From the Jamaica Observer’s All Woman: "Helper Stories: ‘She helped herself to my man’"

Lisa, 47:

We had a helper for over 10 years, however, she got sick so had to take some time off to sort out her medical issues.  So here I was again screening people to possibly find another helper as good as the one I had.  My husband usually leaves this task up to me which I don’t have a problem with as I can’t just let any woman come into my house just like that.  I found this little young Miss, a bit you younger than I would usually take on, but she was eager to prove herself.  I took her on as a live-in helper as her own home was too far away, plus sometimes I needed the extra help in the evenings, especially if we were entertaining guests.  Within a few months I realized that she and my husband were becoming a little too friendly for comfort.  I confronted him one night about it before we went to bed and he assured me that there was nothing to worry about.  Long story short, the helper nuh help herself to mi man?  Right under my nose too, that was the worst part.
(Jamaica Observer All Woman. 15 January, 2015)

Employing people you look down on may be a cheap way to feel better about yourself.  But letting them look after your home and children requires uncomfortable mental contortions. 

The Economist cites Ms Leite, a former maid turned agency director for domestics:

[Ms Leita] thinks many people look down on domestics, regarding them as “the dregs”.  She knows maids who, in social situations, lie about what they do for a living.

Agency manager (and former maid) Ms Leita goes on to say,

For me this is as dignified as any other job---I do it to support my family.  But not everyone feels like that.  It’s typically black women who do this job, and prejudice still exists. [My emphasis.]

“Older clients, particularly, expect to be able to pay low wages for a maid-of-all-work.  They are quickly disabused, either by the agency (“we delicately point out that we abolished slavery in 1888”) or by their daughters who explain that maids are no longer willing to remain standing whenever in their employers’ presence, and that if they are insulted they will leave.” – Ms Leita

Ms Leita tells of a couple with a small apartment who made up a bed for their new maid in the laundry area---next to the dog’s.  They were surprised when she walked out.” [My emphasis.]

On the Jamaican front, a helper told her employer she couldn’t come to work because (then) recent floods washed away the Yallas river crossing and there was no way to get across (she canna canna cross it) to get to work. 

nobody canna cross it!

Employer told her if she doesn’t come to work, she (employer) can’t go to work because she’d have to stay home and mind the children and if she doesn’t work, helper doesn’t get paid.  About an hour later helper called to say she paid a man to jockey-ride her across the (raging, dangerous, post-storm, river-come-down) waters of the Yallas river and that she was on her way to work.
$200 JAD jockey-ride across the river.
Norman Grindley photo















In Brazil, scarcity of the maids (and newly found empowerment) has driven up wages. Not so in Jamaica. The inarticulate majority are there for a reason.  Orchestrated; despite all this talk about education-education-education.

There is a new, continuously developing face of service in the developed world.  Yesterday’s servants are now self-employed, live in their own homes, provide more specialized services to several customers: baby sitting, light dusting, laundry, cooking, house sitting, etc.  




These changes are gradually coming to Jamaica. Dog walking, I imagine will be next, what with the current preponderance of little fluffy inbred mongrel dogs trying to pass as full bred Shih Tzus; the must-have accoutrement in the modern, well-appointed Jamaican household.  Why do we need full service staff in the wake of dry cleaning, carpet cleaning, Dyson vacuums, iRobot, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, wrinkle free linens and clothing made of modal/lyocell/ viscose/polyamide etc; of minute rice, Stoffer’s, instant coffee, microwave ovens, Swiffer, and heck, even sliced bread; why does such a large portion of the population still need hired help?  Moreso, live-in household help? 

Houses and households require maintenance, of that there is no doubt.  Lovely Mistress São Paulo and her family of six definitely need a little household help, I’ll readily admit.  Growing up in Jamaica in a family of six with two full-time working parents, I had live-in helpers.  That’s the norm.  But, being in the US for so long, I now think of live-in help as having a stranger living in the house.  Not cool.  Furthermore, much of the work housekeeping in Jamaica does is grossly redundant.  Does Harpic need to be thrown down the toilet bowl ev-er-y-day? Do tubs and washbasins need to be scoured ev-er-y-day? Do floors need Mop and Glo ev-er-y day? Do the Range Rover Evoque and the BMW X6 need to be washed by the yard man ev-er-y day? 

I’m not opposed to household work being done by service people.  I am opposed to servitude and subservience. Pre-Great Recession, I had a cleaning service come in once a fortnight to help me set my house to rights. She told me up front: no laundry/no windows/no ironing/no cooking.  I said, “Yes Ma’am.”  While she and her two-woman crew did the dusting/sweeping/mopping/vacuuming/bathroom and kitchen scouring, I ‘Mavis-ed’ the laundry: washing/folding/ironing.  I live in a large (to me) home in an upper middle class naighbourhood, but there are no servants quarters in my floorplans.  

(Point of note, this wonderful lady and her cleaning crew incidentally happen to be (not black though not white) Brazilian.  I often wondered how she felt coming into a black woman’s home to do household work as, based on Ms Leita’s experienced observations, it would be the demographic likes of me who would be doing the housecleaning and sleeping next to the dog in the laundry room back in good ole Brasil.)

If houses no longer came with servants quarters, would people adjust the way they thought about having servants and household help? Would people still think they needed 24-7 access to the helper?  Would people still think they needed two helpers, and a nanny, paid at a pittance and living in the least attractive spaces in their houses? 

I remember the design and aesthetic of the ‘helper’s quarters’ of all the houses I’ve lived in. They were the roughest areas of the home. Mean and lowly spaces.  Let’s take the bathroom: small. Barely past being ‘roughed out’. NO tile on the walls; just raw, unsealed concrete (ergo prone to mould and junjo growth).  And even if there is tile, absolutely none in the shower stall. Neither on the walls nor on the floor.  Stalls are typically unpainted concrete with an 8" bund (kerb) and a cockeyed drain.  Definitely no tub!  This adjoins a room (sleeping) that is no bigger than 10 x 10.  Bedroom and bathroom are almost always adjacent to or across from the washroom and/or kitchen.  I tried to source a picture or two of these spaces, yet nothing popped up on the radar.  Of all the photos included in real estate listings slideshows, servants quarters are missing. Who cares what they look like, right? That they exist in the home is all that matters.

The washroom and kitchen spaces are nothing glamourous either. Were it not for HGTV, the kitchen in the Jamaican home would not be experiencing pride of place.

                “Kitchens sell homes!” I'm hearing more and more Jamaicans say; including real estate agents.  

Ummm…not in Jamaica.  The kitchen is still the purview of the servant in Jamaica. Mistress could care less as she only passes through there when the helper is asleep or has gone home; or even worse, that horrid stretch of time once a year when the helper is on vacation.  My father once joked that one can always tell when helpers are on vacation: all the Mistress employers have kitchen burnmarks on their arms.  

Straight outta HGTV, that kitchens-sells-homes phrase goes for homes in America where it’s Mistress who actually does the household work, including cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. She wants her work area to be ergonomic, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing. That’s why dishwashing machines are standard in American kitchens. Not so in Jamaica where the helper is the dishwasher.  The highest return on investment on a renovation in an American home will be the kitchen.  Bathrooms second.  

Again from the Economist:
“Many Brazilian mansions have no hot water in the kitchen, and there are paulistanos* who time-share helicopters but do not own a dishwasher.  That will change when getting congealed fat off pans stops being someone else’s job.”
*inhabitant of the city of São Paulo

It is the rare house in Jamaica that has a dishwasher…that’s not the helper, that is.  


cbjamaica.com
'Dishwasher' = machine
'Dish Washer' = Servant??? ha-ha! I know it's a typo, but it does beg the question. 

You will find more houses with washing machines, but not as many as you might think. Mistress will bawl for the light bill and the water bill, but the pittance paid to the domestic help is seen as enough to cover washing dishes/clothes and drying them.  It’s comical to see, during the rainy season, many a helper running in and out to get the clothes up off the line, then stringing them up all over the place under cover to get them to dry.  In many US neighbourhoods, it’s against Home Owner Association policy to have an outdoor clothesline. Many a Mistress in Jamaica tire to tell their helpers to hang the drawers behind the sheets so the neighbours, or guests won’t see them LOL! Furthermore, Mistress will say she won’t accoutre these working spaces with machinery because the helper will “mash it up!”

Services will always be in demand and the type/nature evolve as the economy/social mores change/evolve. So too should the architecture of these spaces. These type ‘servants quarters’ programming functions reinforce negative historical practices and run contrary to how we live in the modern era.  Unfortunately, in certain societies, servants quarters are essential household and design components and markers of social status.  And one can easy well argue that for many, the purpose of having servants...

 ...is to be a master.



~ Torsdag


21st century programming changes for the modern home.  In lieu of servants quarters, dog grooming stations:

from houzz.com
no unfinished rough concrete here!

Coming soon to an upper St Andrew real estate listing.  nb: this well-appointed space is for the fluffy mongrel wannabe Shish Tzu and Maltese cross-breeds only.  Mangy mongrel mawga dog-yard dogs…unno stay outside. Girrout!!

from ecotours.me
 Jamaican mongrel dog


Sources:

The Economist:
Domestic labour: the servant problem.  17 Dec 2011
http://www.economist.com/node/21541717

The psychology of service: why have servants? 17 Dec 2011
http://www.economist.com/node/21541712

dwell.com:
http://www.dwell.com/house-tours/article/cinematic-family-retreat-brazil#8

The Jamaica Observer:
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Helper-stories

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Portlandia, Parts Unknown: Jamaica


I watched “Anthony Bourdain - Parts Unknown: Jamaica” and I did not like it, I thought it was generic, one dimensional, predictable, lazy television at its very best. I grow tired of the overseas press and their hatchet job when it comes to Jamaica because they always go for the Lowest Common Denominator to get ratings. It is not that what was shown was lie, I am not saying the show misrepresented the facts, the show did highlight one aspect of real life in Portland, Jamaica, it showed that Portland is a parish standing still in no man’s land waiting like the phoenix to rise from the ashes but I will return to that in a moment. If the only purpose of the show was about saving Winnifred Beach then put a feather in your cap, mission accomplished but other than that it was a negative portrayal of my beloved country and those are dime a dozen, us Jamaicans often take pride and joy at how best we can highlight Jamaica's various problems which is why I value the person who can find and highlight the positive things about us..


Anthony Bourdain -Parts Unknown: Jamaica gave the movers and shakers of Portland the opportunity to come across like idiotic pompous twits and they did not disappoint they were more embarrassing than Carl “Goat eye” Bradshaw (Chris Blackwell’s little Minion) and the poor uneducated fishermen squaring up to fight each other over differences of opinion. I was more embarrassed for these rich educated people who came across as people who were totally void of class, chief among them was The Honourable Michael Lee-Chin, OJ who acted as if he was filming an episode of MTV cribs with himself as the Mac Daddy and his entourage of name brand single brain cell, mannequins muppets around the dinner table and Chris Blackwell acted as if he was the Godfather himself, Don Vito Corleone … In that regard, if one was to substitute Vybz Kartel and his Ghetto Gaza muppets with these rich educated fools then the effects would have been the same, low class is low class regardless of wealth. I was always thought that the vulgar display of wealth was a very low class thing to do but these days Jamaica is a country filled with vulgar low class people trying to define themselves by their parade of wealth and material possessions. I know you are rich, your body of work is proof of that, your reputation is second to none, so you do not have parade it all the time... however great people think about the greater good and act accordingly.


In the end a lot of people worldwide watched the show and began to superimpose Portland over Jamaica, foreigners do have a knack of thinking about a country, defining an entire country using just a cheap snapshot of the lowest common denominator. I have met people who would make grand statements about Jamaica based solely on their drive from the airport to the all-inclusive hotel. As a matter of fact I was driving with friends visiting from the UK and every day we drove on the same main road to and from the beaches and restaurants that litter that main road, everything was on the main road so there was no real reason to turn off the beaten path but after a while they started defining the entire country based only on their experience on that main road, I eventually had to ask how they came to that conclusion after just driving on this one main road for a week.


On my visits to the UK we often drive on one or two main roads but I have enough intelligence to know that I cannot define the entire UK based on my experience driving on the A38 or else that would make the UK a country that smells like manure, pig farms and littered with little chef restaurants as the only places to eat. I know every turn can leads to something different and excited and I also understand that every society is complex and multidimensional made up of different types of people in different socio-economic categories. This also holds true for the USA who has some of the worst murdering, cutthroat ghettos known to man and at times one must pass through them to get to somewhere good and safe.

From Wendy In Jamaica Blog
What was clear in the “Parts Unknown: Jamaica” and what I have known for some time now is that the Movers and Shakers of Portland are selfish, egotistical little twats who actually care nothing about the parish of Portland or the people of Portland and anyone who is looking for salvation from these people are delusional and will wait in vain because they will not save you or the Parish, that is not their intention because to them the parish is perfect the way it is. Chris Blackwell with his dated model of high end luxury developments was just laughable, it was clear that his plan for Portland was based on trickle down economics. All these movers and shakers love to declare their grand plans for my beloved Portland, they have been declaring this for a long time now but we have yet to see these plans converted into actions and that is because the plan phase gives them power over Portland, it is like the carrot on a stick and help them to maintain the status quo… that of Lord of the manor and keepers of the castle.

One of the main problems with Portland is the people of Portland, these people have been engineered to Sit, Wait and Complain about the extra slow return of the Golden Age of Tourism to Portland, waiting like the phoenix to rise from the ashes. It is the number one conversation topic when you engage any of the locals about Portland, they all start to reminisce about the “Good” Old Golden Age of Tourism in Portland. Most of these people were not even born during this Golden Age of Tourism in Portland and to most of them the Golden age is nothing but hearsay, passed down from generation to generation, things they read in books, famous last names they still cling to but they still sit around waiting for its return nonetheless… and I must ask …Why? To these People of Portland, the only purpose Portland serves, the only reason it exist on this planet is for tourism and if Portland was to reinvent itself then it must reinvent itself as a tourist destination and I continue to ask … Why?

The problem is the People of Portland are incapable of any sort of reinvention because they have not been educated to think or act outside of the box, if they were then Portland would have evolved a long time ago with or without tourism and beyond tourism, instead of the one horse town it still is today, most lack the imagination or innovation to change. Contrary to popular belief Portland was not placed on this planet to ONLY be a tourist destination but that will not change until the inhabitants change.


I seriously doubt that Portland will ever be a Mega Tourist Destination again and I seriously doubt the return of the Golden Age of Tourism to Portland, simply because it rains like hell in Portland causing the land mass to always be on the move. Not to mention the things that created the Golden Age of Tourism in the “good” old days no longer exist, it was a different time and place back then, the type of tourist that use to frequent Portland no longer exist. In its heyday Portland was filled with Royalty, Kings and Queens Princes and Princesses, Debutantes, Dukes and Duchesses, Sultans, Sheikhs and Statesmen, Portland was like Monaco back then… But those days are long gone and all we have left to attract, as far as tourist are concern are mainly low class vomiting vulgar spring breakers looking for a cheap generic vacation. I quoted the “good” old days because looking at the state of Portland today one must wonder who it was good for back then, certainly not Portland in general or Portlanders. Portland is now to Jamaica what Detroit Michigan is now to the USA, a once upon a time, use to be place of some importance.


Portland is living proof that economic and mental diversity is a must in rural Jamaica, that one should never put all one's eggs in one basket. The sooner the people of Portland disconnects themselves from this tourism pipe dream and evolve the better it will be because waiting for the Golden Age to return is nothing but stagnation. However what can one expect from a people who fish in the same spot day in day out until it is bone dry or a parish where it rains almost 300 days of the year but still faces drought conditions and block road in protest of such conditions. Portland is and will only be as good as the people who inhabits Portland.


Most Jamaicans believe that all development and advancement must come from and through the political class and a handful of people from the financial class. They believe that they are useless and worthless and totally dependent on these people to bring about change but people always get the political and financial class they deserve. Simple minded people always create simple minded leaders simply because the leaders themselves comes from the people. So if you want a better class of leaders then you need a better class of people, like cattle farming it is all about having the right breeding stock.

Contrary to what some might believe Portland is not without major Investments:
  • A major North Coast Highway was constructed to provide easy access to Portland, in the history of Portland getting to Portland has never been this good and plans are in place to continue the highway round the St. Thomas end. It was declared by the stake holders that nothing can be done in Portland until this was provided, it was provided and still nothing.
  • The Errol Flynn Marina was built in 2002 by the Port Authority of Jamaica and offers world class facilities for yachters.
  • The Boscobel Aerodrome was renovated and upgraded to “The Ian Fleming International Airport” in 2011, with the intention of handling small jets, international arrivals and to attract the high-end tourism market. It was declared by the stake holders that nothing can be done in Portland until this was provided, it was provided and still nothing.
  • The Trident Hotel was purchased and renovated along with the development of Gee Jam and as per Anthony Bourdain he was the only one in Trident at the time of filming.
  • Golden Dragon Hotel and Blue Lagoon were purchased and major renovation planned but it’s been over a decade now and the future of these entities still remains a mystery.  
Portland got more investments than a lot of other Parishes and still they complain.




I read today in the Gleaner where members of the Political class in Portland turn around and accused other members of the same political class in Portland of being incompetent but all I see is one set of simple minded incompetent people accusing another set of simple minded incompetent people which makes them look like retarded hamster on a wheel. I always wondered if the stakeholders of Portland ever get together as a working group to plan, plot and implement changes for the greater good of their parish, implement things that would be mutually beneficial to all or do they just see each other as cutthroat competitors.

True change, true development and advancement can only come from a people with high standards and high expectations, unselfish people who can think and act outside of the box, people with imagination and innovation who can work together for the greater good not behave like crabs in a barrel.


Hypothetical Proposal 
Specialization is the key, since the various Government departments and ministries must operate on a general level since it is cheaper and more efficient for them to do so. The tourist board for example continues to market a generic brand of tourism because to them it is much easier, as it would be too much for them to seriously market Jamaica by location, that is to be targeted and specific in their various marketing campaigns. They do not say come to Portland and feel alright instead they say come to Jamaica and feel alright. We all must agree that the central government cannot do everything so it is useless and futile to sit around and wait for them to do what we want them to do.


So who are the real stakeholders? The answer to that is “we the people” because when it goes wrong we are the ones who suffer, so the emphasis is on “we the people”. Yes we can sit around and throw the blame from person to person and from group to group but throwing around blame never solve anything yet and it is still “we the people” who will suffer the consequences for failed or lack of actions.

Every parish should have their own local version of the various Government ministries and departments that are of special interest to them, staffed with local stakeholders with the purpose of developing and pushing their own brand. These local non-Government ministries and departments should also get partially funding from the Government but mainly from the local private sectors and stakeholders because it is within their interest to not only support these local version of the various non-Government ministries and departments but to be members/advocates within them for the greater good.

For example the Parish of Portland have an interest in tourism, so the stakeholders in Portland should create The Portland Tourist Board with the sole purpose of developing and marketing Portland as a special brand. Portlanders should know more about Portland than a general generic tourist board located far away and so the owners of all the hotels and attractions in Portland should pool their resources for the greater good, put aside selfish greed and work together. If Portland had a flag or a brand symbol then I have always thought that a picture of Pellew Island should be on that Flag or symbol, to me Pellew Island is the iconic Symbol of Portland recognized worldwide.

Grassroots Development

My Favourite Parish: Portland


Villa-Villa who’s got the Villa?
What I also noticed happening in Portland is that what was once rented villas are now being used as weekend homes for members of the local moneyed class. Back in the days the primary purpose of these seaside villas was for wealth creation and employment through tourism, a lot of the villas were foreign owned and as such marketed and rented to tourist when the owners were not in the island but the local moneyed class does not play that game. I know of several owners from St. Andrew who make their monthly trips to their get-a-way seaside villa and some even carry along with them the household help and even the gardener instead of hiring local Portlanders. I had a conversation with one such person at Woody’s Low Bridge in Drapers who told us she brought her staff with her because she feels more comfortable with them and their level of work.