RADHICA DE SILVA
The long Easter weekend is not a time for celebration for residents of communities in Gasparillo and Claxton Bay who staged protests yesterday over water shortages and dilapidated infrastructure.
A day after a truck damaged a dilapidated wooden bridge in their area, residents of Houssa Trace, Gasparillo, staged a fiery protest calling on the Ministry of Works to fix the bridge.
One of the affected residents, Keith Kowlessar, said since the bridge collapsed commuters have been forced to make a five-mile detour to get to Claxton Bay and Mayo and more than 20 farmers are unable to get their produce out.
“We have two bridges in this area that are in urgent need of repairs. This one is totally impassable now and we want the Minister of Works to bring in a bailey bridge or to fix this one now,” he said.
Andy Mungal said they have been complaining for years about the dilapidated bridges.
“We want this bridge fixed now, immediately because we are fed up with waiting. So long we waiting and look how the garbage truck got stuck on the bridge and mash it up,” Mungal said.
Kenrick Winston-Nanan added: “Imagine the bread truck cannot come in to deliver to the shops. A pregnant woman could not get the ambulance because they had to pass all the way around to get to her.”
Councillor for Caratal/Tortuga Jenna Lee Ramoutar-Ramsaroop said the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation has no funds to fix the road. She said Works Minister Rohan Sinanan should install a bailey bridge to bring some relief.
“Imagine each councillor gets $28,000 per year. That cannot even fix a road much less a bridge,” she said.
Calls and messages to Sinanan for comment on the situation went unanswered yesterday.
In Claxton Bay, residents of Lodge Road, Hilltop Drive and Rose Hill expressed their frustration over not having pipe-borne water for months by staging a protest.
Carrying empty buckets, containers and baskets of dirty clothes, the residents called on WASA to send water to their area as soon as possible.
“It’s three months now we cannot get water. All the clothes are dirty, we cannot wash wares. This is not what we pay for. We want WASA to send water now,” resident Agnes Joseph-Small said.
Janelle Finch, who expressed concern about rising COVID-19 cases, said: “When I bring back vegetables from the market I cannot wash them. There is no water. I have to buy wipes from Pennywise and put rubbing alcohol on them and sanitize the vegetables.”
Finch said previously residents received water every week but in September the supply dwindled to once for the month and has been less frequent since.
She added: “The clothes are piling up. We cannot wash wares or clean.”
Another resident Leon Borne, who lives at Lodge Road, said whenever they call WASA they get excuses that the pump has broken down.
“This is more than six months now we haven’t had water. WASA could do a much better job,” he said.
Efforts to contact WASA officials were futile.