Sep 17, 2011 News
After a minibus toppled into a canal that runs alongside the Mocha Public Road and injured several persons Thursday afternoon in Mocha-Arcadia, residents decided to protest the deplorable condition of the roadway yesterday.
Scores of residents turned out and blocked several parts of the road with pieces of lumber, rocks, concrete posts, and any other obstacle they found.
The chairman of the community, Gregory John, told this newspaper that the road, which was built in 1964 under the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government, was not intended to withstand the amount of heavy traffic that presently traverse.
He added that he believes that “the PPP/C should come on board to make the relevant repairs to the road because that road has outlived its usefulness.”
Some of the methods used to block the roadway included the burning of tyres at the centre of the road. There were also concrete columns, an old fridge and other waste materials that had been dumped alongside the road.
Most persons on their way to work and school found it necessary to walk to the East Bank Demerara public road –a distance of some three miles– to get transportation since the road was closed to vehicular traffic. Others joined the protest.
However, the police who arrived at the scene eventually managed to control the situation after Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, arrived in Mocha and told residents that road works will begin today.
He added that had he been aware of the state of the road, he would have taken steps to repair it. Minister Benn assured the crowd that he was going to meet with the contractors responsible for the two housing projects to discuss the patching of the potholes.
He also promised to meet with a small group of residents at 10:00 hours today for further discussions.
The Minister said that to set up roadblocks on a public access road was unlawful and urged the residents to remove the blockage.
He noted, however, that much cannot be done to the entire road since work in the two new schemes must continue and potholes will continue to develop as the large vehicles traverse.
One resident then raised the issue of the roads within the community.
Benn explained that he is not responsible for community roads but disclosed that there are projects set up by the Ministry of Housing to target community roads.
He added that Mocha may be one of the villages on the East Bank district list. The debris was eventually cleared from the area with the assistance of police and an excavator.
Two women were arrested and later released. They were accused of not keeping the protest peaceful.
And while the protest raged, school children, workers, and business persons were left to foot it to the East Bank public road, some three miles away, after vehicles were blocked from entering the village.
When this publication visited the area there were sprawling pot holes, and severe cracks in the roadway.
Concerned residents voiced their displeasure at the way in which Mocha residents are being treated under the present administration.
One woman explained since the building of the new housing schemes in the area the heavy duty trucks have caused major damage to the roads and have forced taxis to refuse to travel along the path.
School children being made to walk out since minibuses are sometimes reluctant to venture along the deplorable road. “Let them know we don’t want plenty sand and loam and a thin surface that breaks away quickly…We know there has to be housing schemes, because we need land and houses but still you can’t be damaging the road that we have to use every day.”
One woman said, “We don’t mind them using the road, but as they destroy it, let them patch it back properly. If a pregnant woman got to go out of this road now, by the time she reach out she will deliver on the road.”
Many residents contended that when the President told the nation that he was a President for all the people, if he forgot that Mocha was part of the population.
Some residents noted that persons in their vehicles are also robbed while slowing down at major pot holes.
“We need street lights on the roads and proper drainage in this area. What is the government doing for us?” another woman questioned.
Minister Benn is to plan a meeting with the contractors whose vehicles are responsible for destroying the road.
“Mocha is the place that time forgot, and nothing is being done for us. Even the stuff that we blocked the road is what people dump on the road. This place turn a dumping ground…This village is not PPP, PNC or AFC; this is Mocha and we need help.” one man stated.
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