Jan 23, 2022 Letters
Kaieteur News – As the Government prepares to gobble up the entire NRF fund, we must make sure we engage in a massive infrastructural programme. At least, we will have something to show for our money. This “Road Revolution” as the Government calls it will be a “tipping point” for Guyana and is transformational.
When I lived in the Bahamas, there were roads built all over Grand Bahama although there were no houses in many areas. When I lived in Dubai/Abu Dhabi, the roads were well built, wide, smooth, and excellent. Good roads with lines and markings give the impression of a decent, orderly country. For Guyana,where it rains so much, good roads make for easy movement and quick accessibility.
For over six decades our people have walked in mud all their lives. I have asked for all the streets and roads in my Whim village to be paved and drains concreted. Mr. Ashni, please remember Whim. On election day, you came to find out if all our people had voted, and you asked for us to go get those who had not voted as yet. So make sure you have us in your budget! Here are some recent headlines: “President’s intervention needed to address deteriorating Parika to Hubu Road” (This road was the first road called an “abortion road.”Many farming communities, farmers, loggers and sawmills are in this area. The roads give access to resorts and other riverine areas. Vehicles are badly damaged while navigating huge potholes. Pedestrians are forced to walk in the mud and huge potholes to avoid being in the path of the oncoming traffic).“Herstelling wants deplorable roads repaired” (Taxi drivers are reluctant to drive into the community, and for those who do,the cost is exorbitant). “Poor road work at Zeelugt” (New roads crumbling). “Noise nuisance, bad roads, power woes among issues raised by Belle West residents during meeting with Indar.”“Residents lament terrible state of West Ruimveldt roads” (The large potholes and depressions damage vehicles. Previous repairs were substandard, the roads eroded, and are now in a terrible state.When it’s flooded, the children have to walk through the water to get to school, and taxis don’t want to come into the area).“Car flips several times after dropping into pothole; driver seriously injured.” (The front-left car wheel went into a pothole in Mabaruma. This caused driver to lose control of the car, which turned turtle several times before coming to a stop). Every village in Guyana has these recurring problems. It’s the same story everywhere.
Many fear that the recent wave of new roads were hurriedly built and fast-tracked that foundation work was compromised. They say these roads will not last 20-25 years, as has been our perennial national problem. A recent report said Minister Indar was visiting Enmore to inspect community roads that were recently built as complaints have been received that the quality of roads were not up to standard.
While road building is a good thing, it can fuel massive corruption if we do not have intense monitoring and watchdog processes. Create community groups and pay them stipends to monitor the road building process in their communities. It is in such large projects that politicians and their friends make their money. The costs for road projects run into billions and billions. The quotes for some short roads seem so inflated and need public scrutiny. The Opposition must monitor and ask incessant questions about these projects.
One very annoying practice I notice is when they dig the drains, they throw the debris right on the parapet, instead of hauling it away. This is so backward because that same mud washes back into the roadside drains and you have to spend more and more money to fix those problems. It seems like a deliberate ploy to make money.
We also need to stop building one-lane roads. That is such backward thinking. Every road should be at least two lanes, with white lines in the middle. We must cater for ongoing increases in the number of vehicles traversing the roads now and in the future.
Additionally, the road builders don’t seem to know how to do the road edges so the roads don’t start crumbling at the edges. The parapets at the sides of the road need to slope down so water can run off easily. Low maintenance grass or sod must be planted to prevent erosion and must be mowed regularly. Please patch all roads when the potholes are starting and don’t wait until it becomes a billion-dollar project. We look forward to this “Road Revolution.”
Dr. Jerry Jailall
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