Chanting “more fire” as smoke from burning tyres and debris spread through their community, residents of Grants Road, Rousillac are threatening continued demonstrations as they say the Ministry of Works and Transport is toying with them.
Road paving equipment rolled into the Southern community last week, and residents believed this was an indication that there would be patching of the gaping holes in the road. But with the conditions remaining the same yesterday morning, they lit fires, blocking the road from as early as 4 o’clock.
The Southern Main Road remained passable, therefore, there was no significant traffic congestion. However, the Ministry classifies Grants Road as a major access route to La Brea and Point Fortin as work takes place along the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension.
Matthew Dassyne, a resident in the area, said the road condition was unbearable and has been that way for six years. Dassyne argued that he wished the speed that police and regional corporation workers responded to stop their protest, was the same speed they could come to their area to fix the road.
“Watch how much trucks and backhoe come just now. Why can’t they come to do the same thing and fix the road for us to pass? We cannot pass here. It is really sickening now. It is six years now; we cannot take this anymore,” Dassyne said.
While some people said the United National Congress (UNC) led the protest, Mon Desir councillor Deryck Bowrin said the conditions are real in a community that is in the People’s National Movement (PNM) constituency of La Brea.
“We heard comments about UNC councillors starting a protest, but that is not the case. Everybody that traverses the road here goes to La Brea or Point Fortin or from La Brea or Point Fortin, so this is not about UNC, this is about Trinidad. Here is part of Trinidad too and if the residents choose to come out tomorrow, I am here with them,” Bowrin said.
Otaheite/Mon Desir councillor Javed Mohammed added that the protest was a cry for a good road for both UNC and PNM supporters who use it.
In an open message to Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan, Bowrin said the residents would not tolerate his disregard. In a media release on October 1, the Ministry said it awarded Carib Asphalt Pavers Ltd the contract to carry out remedial works on Grants Road on August 28. However, the company stated that poor weather delayed the start by a week. That week passed, and the road remains the same.
Bowrin said that as Minister, Sinanan should follow up on projects to ensure they get completed.
Clint Arjoon, president of the Fyzabad Chamber of Commerce, supported the residents, saying that the Minister gave them false promises and false media releases.
Guardian Media reached out to Minister Sinanan and his ministry but no one responded to our calls.