Eleven Miles residents protest dust nuisance, bad roads

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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ANGRY residents of Eleven Miles in Bull Bay, St Andrew, yesterday, took to the streets to protest the deplorable road conditions and a long-standing dust nuisance they say is affecting their health.

The residents claim that for more than 20 years they have been forced to suffer because of the bad road conditions. However, the problem has been made worse by the number of truckers transporting aggregates from a nearby quarry.

"The dust caused by this continuous operation has triggered a host of respiratory illnesses in this community. Right now people from all over are flooding hospitals because of a number of ailments. And despite calls for the matter to be addressed, our calls are falling on deaf ears," said resident Claudette Gilles.

She was one of several placard-bearing residents who took to the streets of the rural community and threatened not to end their protest until the matter was addressed. The protest action attracted a lot of police presence in the community, resulting in the residents hurling accusations of intimidation at the lawmen.

According to the residents, the police are visiting the area asking for specific members from the community and issuing threats against them.

"I am one of these persons who was threatened by the police all because we the citizens have decided that enough is enough and have decided to come out and protest," said one man from the community, who did not identify himself.

The man claimed that, because of the threats from the police, he has since gone into hiding as he is in fear.

His claims were supported by a large number of the protesting residents.

"It is true the police have even gone to his home asking for him by name, and he is not the only one," said another female resident.

"This cannot be allowed to continue. Right now the health of people in the area is under threat, and to make matters worse, when residents come out to speak they are being intimidated by the police," said Tamika Robinson, another community member.

Alfred Wint, another resident, shared similar sentiments.

"We the citizens in this community need the authorities to fix the road, as we believe that if the road is addressed at least this will help to minimise the dust problem we are facing," said Wint.

Yesterday, a senior member of the East Kingston Police Division said he would be investigating the claims of intimidation made by the residents.




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