Mr Warmington and Troy's bridge over troubled waters
Mr Everald Warmington

THERE are some legislators in this country who disregard the people's plight and act in a manner suggesting that the populace must endure inconvenience, or worse, great suffering, until they decide to do what is really their job — to resolve problems affecting constituents.

Those legislators who insist on treating citizens as subjects are sometimes sent crashing back to earth after ballots are cast and counted. The vote is the people's voice, and we hope they continue to use it wisely.

Two weeks ago in this space we discussed the disgraceful conditions that residents of Cowick Park, Manchester, who depend on the Troy bridge, are facing. At the time, we had highlighted the cry of Ms Dulcy Bromfield for help.

"We cannot live in this condition. It is like nobody cares about us," said Ms Bromfield who lives at Cowick Park and is one of many residents of that and other communities who depend on the Troy bridge which collapsed a year ago and is yet to be replaced.

Our report had pointed out that some 2,000 Jamaicans rely on the bridge to get from their communities to school, work, or to go about their general business.

Mr Everald Warmington, the Government minister with responsibility for works, was reported then as saying that a replacement bridge may take two budget cycles to be erected.

According to him, engineers are still working on a design.

We are not surprised by Mr Warmington's insolence when our journalist, Mr Kasey Williams, called him last week for an update on the bridge. Mr Williams documented that display of brusqueness in his follow-up story in today's paper.

Today's story again highlights the astronomical cost to students and adults who are forced to use alternative routes because of the absence of the bridge. It also reports the acting principal at Troy Primary School, Ms Keresha McIntosh, as saying that school attendance has dropped significantly because of the distance and expense students continue to face.

At Troy High School, Acting Principal Mrs Alliah Chambers-Green said she has lost staff, including two experienced teachers, and students who have transferred to other schools to avoid the expensive, near 15-mile alternative commute.

But even more troubling is word from health-care workers at Troy Health Centre that sick elderly patients — some diabetic and others hypertensive — and babies have not been able to use the facility since the bridge collapsed.

Additionally, we have been told that schoolchildren and adults are placing their lives at risk by using a makeshift footbridge, created from a fallen tree, to cross the river running between the affected communities.

Readers will recall that the residents have also been using a zipline made from a rope and bucket to cross the river, which also poses grave danger.

We accept that the Government is facing financial limitations, especially given the heavy commitment to the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, the situation facing residents in the communities we have highlighted is an emergency.

People like Mr Warmington may think that this is merely a matter of access to a bridge because, according to him, that bridge is not the only one in Jamaica that needs replacement or repair. The cold, hard fact he should acknowledge is that we are already seeing the effects of this situation on education, health, the residents' ability to survive, economic activity in those areas, and, most importantly, the risk to life.

The political representatives of the affected communities and the Government need to do their jobs. You are dealing with fellow human beings who deserve respect and whom you have been placed in office to serve.

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