Matelot residents repair own roads

Fed up of the poor road conditions along Paria Main Road, five Matelot residents came together to undertake their own road paving exercise.

The team was headed by president of the St Helena Village Council (Matelot) John Lewis. Lewis said yesterday that he was at his wits’ end since the roads were growing progressively worse following last November’s landslide which left several families marooned in their homes in Matelot.

Lewis said he placed photographs of the paving job on Facebook not for glory or fame, but for people to know what they have to endure.

It was a community initiative, he said.

“This is not the first time we have done this. We often try to repair the roads that are in a bad state on our own,” Lewis said.

The landslides were triggered by torrential overnight rains which left heaps of silt and debris along several north coast roads.

Four months later, Lewis said Toco and Matelot were still suffering for improved roads and proper drainage.

“Since that disaster we have been experiencing hell. We didn’t want food, you know. What we wanted was to get our lives back to normal. Up to now there are drains that are still blocked and landslides at the side of roads. These are things we have to cope with everyday.”

Angered by the Government’s lack of action, Lewis and his men went into action last Friday.

“We spent half of the day paving and patching the road.”

Lewis said when the disaster struck, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan visited the area and gave the villagers the assurance that their community will be brought back to normalcy.

He said that has not happened as some drains were still clogged in Grand Riviere, while many of the roads which had been washed away still needed to be paved.

“Nobody cares. We are left in a position you don’t know who to complain to, call or ask for help. We reach a stage where we not taking no talk. Is time we break the silence.”

He said chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon said his hands were tied.

Lewis, who walked from Matelot to Port-of-Spain in 2013 to highlight a landslide which blocked off their community, said he had no intention to do that again.

“Matelot is one place where people are not proactive.”

In going forward, Lewis said they would continue to beg contractors for paving materials to make life easier for them.

Sinanan said last Sunday he held a meeting with officials from his ministry, Rondon and Sangre Grande Toco MP Glenda Jennings-Smith.

“I talked to them to engage some short-term labour to have this work completed. We are evaluating the entire area to have a comprehensive restoration programme along the entire coast.”

A programme will be developed where major repair works be undertaken for the next three years, Sinanan said yesterday.

SOURCE: (Shaliza Hassanali)