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Fix it, now!

Retreat residents step up protest to draw attention to broken bridge

Saturday, August 23, 2014    

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RETREAT, St Mary — Residents of Retreat yesterday protested for a third day, blocking the main road with logs, as they pressed the authorities to fix a broken bridge that is at the main entrance to the western section of the parish.

The bridge has been missing several pieces of its wooden floor that have rotted and fallen off over time, leaving openings in its grid-like metal frame. The situation has made it difficult for residents who are forced to walk on the bridge, especially at night, to get to and from their homes.

Yesterday, residents said that several people have already fallen through the openings, including a child who had to be hospitalised. The latest incident was said to have happened on Sunday, which prompted the protests.

"We don't intend to stop until the member of parliament shows up with some boards," a livid Sania Jackson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Western St Mary is served by the People's National Party's Joylan Silvera.

"School starts in two weeks and the bridge cannot stay like this," Jackson said, arguing that the damage to the bridge poses a danger not only to pedestrians, but to motorists as well.

She said it has been several years since any repairs were carried out on the bridge.

"We are tired of this, we are fed up; the boards are missing from the bridge. We have children going to school in two weeks; I don't know what is going to happen because the bridge is in a deplorable condition. We need attention and we need it now," Jackson said.

Another resident, who gave her name only as Andrea, shared similar concerns.

"Is two weeks leave for school to open. There are a lot of children over there going back to school and this is the only way in and the only way out. Two weeks left for school and is 12 somebody drop through it already," Andrea remarked.

"It's a long time that we've been calling out to them and nobody to talk to. The MP, all now we no see him," she added. "If him nuh come wi nah stop. Right now one in a bed can't come out. Nobody to talk to, nothing about doctor bill."

Other residents complained that they had tried everything, including writing letters to the authorities, to draw attention to the poor state of the bridge, but have received no response. They said promises were made to carry out repairs, but up to yesterday nothing had happened.

"We actually get tired of this situation now," an unidentified demonstrator blurted.

They promise that their protests will intensify for each day the bridge is ignored.

"We ask them to please give us an emergency call and mek we know if the thing going to sort out or we have to take it to a different dimension," Christopher Segar said.

— Renae Dixon

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