Residents of LaightBorne Gasparillo stage a placard protest at a landslip on the Caratal/Tortuga road to highlight the poor road condition in the area on Saturday. (Image by Rishi Ragoonath)

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Tabaquite residents say they are fed up with being neglected as major roads in their area continue to fall apart restricting access to heavy vehicles.

On Saturday morning, residents of Morne Roache, Lightborne and Caratal staged separate protests as they called for an improvement to bad road conditions, frequent water shortages and dilapidated bridges.

Resident Donna Thomas stood with her neighbours on the edge of a landslip at Caratal.

Thomas said a few weeks ago a resident’s home burnt down because the firetruck could not pass and we lost that house.

” Garbage trucks and taxis don’t come in the back here because of the road conditions,” she said.

Thomas said older people were suffering.

“Most times we have to drop by the main road and walk with our groceries. This is not right, especially for the old people,” she said.

Another resident Ralph Sawh of Lightborne said apart from the main roads, the side streets were also in a state of disrepair.

“This road is dilapidated and if it continues like this nobody will be able to pass. And it is not just the Ligtborne Road. We have several side streets like  Samlalsingh, Baboolal, Doubtlal, Perry Caratalal, Houssa Trace which drain into Lightborne which acts as a major artery,” Sawh added.

Apart from road woes, the residents complained of water shortages.

Councillor Saffraz Ali said there seemed to be a grave disconnect between WASA and the Ministry of Works as WADSA was continually digging up the roads to fix leaks, without repairing them.

“We are calling on the Minister of Public Utilities to intervene and work with the Ministry of Works to get these roads fixed. Apart from the water leaks we do not get a regular and reliable water supply,” Ali added.

Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong said the Ministry of Works Mayo Division is close to some of the worse roads in the Tabaquite constituency.

“We make representation to have our roads upgraded but every time we are met with the same response. The Ministry doesn’t have resources, they don’t have the equipment, work teams are understaffed. It seems the Ministry of Works has collapsed because they can do nothing,” Awong said.

MP Anita Haynes said residents should not have to live with this neglect.

“It is unacceptable that government thinks we should live like this. I get messages, calls every day from constituents who say their vehicles and their safety is compromised because of bad roads. We are saying if the Minister of Works cannot do his job, it is time for him to go,”  Haynes said.

She added, “Residents are at the breaking point. We are hearing about property tax, increased taxation but we cannot see where money is spent. We cannot talk about progress if we cannot get to and from our homes and if our basic needs are not met,” she said.

Several attempts were made to contact Works Minister Rohan Sinanan but there has been no response.