LIKE most communities in Jamaica that have grown more broken down and devoid of the attention of PNP politicians who promised us 'nice times' in the campaign of 2011, Mount Salus is one such where the residents have to be suffering the swarm of mosquitoes and the stink which emanates, not from the politics, but the damaged infrastructure which the successful politicians have left untouched.
In 2010, Hurricane Nicole sideswiped Jamaica and then decided to sit in the region for a while as its heaviest rain bands lashed the island for many days.
On the Mount Salus road, at a point where there is a natural depression, there was constructed some time before the 1970s — when sane politics was more the rule than the exception — a holding area/soakaway for controlling flood waters. In 2010 the soakaway couldn't hold up and the water overflowed and created a lake on the roadway.
But it did more than that. It pushed across the road, saw a few houses in its path and simply took them over. The residents had to seek higher ground even as the flooded roadway meant that those who lived up could not come down, and those who wanted to go up had to remain down.
The lake which had formed meant that one part of the community was cut off from the other.
To be fair to the PNP, in west rural St Andrew, where I live, the previous JLP MP, Andrew Gallimore, was a bit of a joke. In the two years leading up to the general election of December 2011, one got the impression that he was so certain of the significant percentage of votes of the disconnected middle class in his constituency that he pretty much disconnected himself from dealing with the concerns of the poorer classes in the constituency.
Well, December 2011 came around and the PNP's Paul Buchanan won by a narrow margin. That Buchanan win has to be placed into context.
As far as I know, no one pulled a gun on Buchanan and ordered him to run. As far as I know, Buchanan ran a tough campaign and eventually his political strategy paid off. That said, why is it that two years after no one forced him to become member of parliament, he is now hiding from his constituents?
The soakaway that I write about is 123 ft long by 23 ft wide by about 20 ft deep. Some work was started in 2012, but then it stalled. A few months later some more work was done on it, then it ceased. Was it all 'bullo work' designed to place some funds somewhere?
Although MPs like to claim that work to be done in their constituencies is the responsibility of either the NWC, NWA or maybe God, once the work is done they are ready to claim ownership.
To be fair to MP Buchanan, he has done significant work in his constituency — one of the largest in the island, and is basically 'hill' territory. We accept that it is difficult.
The thing with MP Buchanan is that, like most elected representatives, he hates to be criticised. Write something glowing about him and my phone will ring the next morning. Criticise him and he will lock off his phone from me contacting him for months.
The picture attached to the column was taken on Monday. The water was barely five feet from the top of the soakaway. It shows a vile, sickening, red-coloured water, which has provided a natural breeding ground for mosquitoes.
In the late-afternoon as the newly hatched mosquitoes emerged to seek their blood meal, the poor residents of Mount Salus became their nearest treat. Some low lives have begun to dump dead dogs in the huge 123x23x20 pool of stink.
Member of Parliament Paul Buchanan lived briefly in the area, but he is now free of the impediment. Pesky journalists and pushy columnists cannot even get him by phone and so are seeking to determine if he is still in Jamaica.
Months ago, when we had a speaking relationship and he would stop by the bars in Sterling Castle and palaver with others, all was cool. Now he seems unable to answer the call of residents beckoning him to deal with niggling problems affecting them. It now gives rise to the question, why did we vote out the disconnected Andrew Gallimore?
Months ago, when I mentioned to Mr Paul Buchanan that many sections of Red Hills and Sterling Castle were without water, for weeks at a time, he seemed nonplussed. Well, Mr Buchanan, there has been no water in the area for well over a week now. And whenever there is water it is only for a day or, if we are lucky, two days.
Oh, I forgot, you are no longer living in the area so you don't have to deal with the smelly effects of this problem; unflushed toilets, bodies half-washed, dirty dishes piling up, and women having to deal with hygienic problems.
The better-off residents purchase water at quite expensive rates. At times there are a few trucks which enter the area and poorer residents have to scamper with pans, pots and buckets. But, of course, you Mr Buchanan merely represent us, you don't live here.
Seriously, something has to be done about this habit of parachuting politicians into constituencies where they have no umbilical connections. When this is done, once they get the win, the constituents suffer for, at the very least, five years.
Not many can afford the costs of setting up water systems to maintain basic amenities. Answer, Mr Buchanan.