Wakefield wrath

Furious residents plan protest over bad roads

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter

Monday, April 14, 2014    

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The residents of Wakefield in St Catherine say they have had enough.

Pointing to deplorable roads in their community that, for the past 30 years, are making their lives hell, the residents say they intend to stage a public protest in an effort to have the authorities address the problem.

Last Thursday, the residents complained to the Jamaica Observer that the state of the roads has resulted in a reduction in the number of students attending Refuge Basic School; losses of millions of dollars to farmers; and steep hikes in taxi fares.

"I use to pay $100 to take a taxi to the community, but now I have to be paying $300 to make the same trip," fumed Paulette Williams as she stood with a large group of equally disgruntled residents.

"We feel abandoned, we feel we are being ignored in this area. We have five elected politicians from both sides but no one is paying attention to our concerns," said Kingsley Anderson, a shop owner.

Raymond Harrison, a farmer who has lived in the community for more than 20 years, shared similar concerns.

"Because of the bad roads farmers are unable to get transportation to carry their goods to the market," Harrison said, adding that this has resulted in more than half of his crops, valuing thousands of dollars, going to waste.

Lloyd Lungrin, a 68-year-old farmer, was livid as he explained to the Observer how he continued to lose more than $40,000 because he was unable to get transportation to move his goods.

"No one wants to come around here; the roads are so bad no one wants to take the chance," said the farmer, who was close to tears.

Pelleta Spence, principal of Refuge Basic School, could not hide her frustration.

"Because of the bad roads parents are moving away their children from the school," said the principal, who also disclosed that she is forced to end classes early when it rains to ensure that the children avoid walking in heavy mud on their way home.

Lebert Thompson, pastor at Mount Refuge Church of the First Born, was equally upset.

"We need to get some attention now," he said. "People are frustrated. Because of the bad roads some people are even staying away from the church because it is difficult for them to get transportation to come to church."





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