‘Tyrant of the deep’
RESIDENTS of Kent Village in the Bog Walk Gorge area of St Catherine say they are concerned about lilies that have blanketed a huge section of the Rio Cobre, continuing to pose a threat to them and others as it creates a habitat for crocodiles and possibly numerous other dangerous creatures.
The Jamaica Observer visited the Gorge on Tuesday and in sections where the lilies are spread heavily, it is a struggle to see the water beneath.
According to one resident, the water in that section, which lies between Kent Village and the Bog Walk bridge, is so deep that it can cover and hide people and vehicles with ease.
What the residents want is for the authorities to be consistent in organising activities to have the affected area cleared regularly.
Clifton Barrett, a resident, recalled an incident in which a man died after his car plunged into the river and was covered by the lilies.
“I remember a vehicle went over there once and you couldn’t see the vehicle, and it was the same men dem from down here and Bog Walk who had to go over there. When the wrecker came, the men went down there and hooked it for the wrecker to draw it out,” Barrett said, adding that people in authority deliberately do not want to spend the money to clean it.
“It is risky to get rid of the lilies. They are playing politics with it. Lily is always in there and when the river come down, it wash them away. However, when there is no rain for five to six months, the lilies just grow out of control. We cleaned them in the past and got more than 10 truckloads and we carried them away to the dump. We went in the river on about or five rafts and the water is very deep. Sometimes you have some sand out there that slow you up. They call it quicksand and you have to be careful,” Clifton said.
Another male resident shared that he is concerned about the threat that crocodiles pose to fishermen and others who use the river for various purposes.
“You can’t see the water at all. I have seen one big crocodile and five small ones in there. There is a place upstream where they scale and gut fish and drop it in that area. The river has not come down in a little while now to wash them away, so I know they are still there, he said.”
In a short film about lilies that was aired on BBC Earth last year, the narrator described the lily as a monster that is well armed. The film was entitled: Tyrant of the deep, the green plant.
The Observer sought comment from the National Environment and Planning Authority (NEPA) on Wednesday about crocodiles and other dangerous creatures possibly living in the lilies; however, experts from the authority could not be reached for feedback on the matter.