To whom do we turn?
Some St Thomas residents continue to be impacted by the dust and other issues resulting from work on sections of the highway.

Dear Editor,

I live in Bay View in Bull Bay, along the route of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.

The contractor for this project has been undertaking the earthworks for the realignment of the roadway for several months. I recall months ago the media reported on the dust pollution; poor road conditions; lack of safety devices along and around openings at the edges of the work adjacent to active driving lanes; no lighting at night; and lack of directional signs. These conditions now pertain to the section of roadway being realigned between the 10-mile post and seven-mile post of the St Thomas roadway. In addition to the dangers posed by these conditions caused by the contractors, there has been no public mention of the schedule for work completion or what is to be expected of the contractors to maintain the area in a way that will not be detrimental to the residents and their properties.

As a resident of Bayview, every day I have to endure the poor road conditions and damage to my vehicle due to potholes and deteriorated road surfaces, not to mention health issues resulting from the massive and constant plumes of dust caused by the earth-moving activities and unpaved road surfaces. And since I know that most contracts for civil works have clauses to maintain safe conditions in areas where the public interface with construction activities, including dust control, I must ask why they are not being enforced in this case.

Enforcement of contracts for construction work is the responsibility of the employer of the contractor, which in this case is the Government of Jamaica. I suspect these conditions would not be occurring in tourist areas, uptown, or wherever the political class and other very important people live.

I am at the point of no longer caring to complain about these issues to those who couldn't care less about what happens to people like me, an ordinary Jamaican citizen.

Right now I am fed up with the lack of representation for citizens who provide the salaries for so-called rulers who have been derelict in their duties to us and this country. The constant lack of information and the continuous ignoring of our challenges has made me aware that citizens, not "stakeholders", need to look for alternative ways to run our country in an inclusive manner, with a plan to execute agreed objectives.

The objectives will only be achieved if we ensure that people from among us who are competent, caring, and ethical are placed in positions of power to manage our affairs, not absentee Members of Parliament living in a parallel universe.

A parallel form of Government is not a viable option. And elections are a farce if the people we elect disappear, as if by magic, after being elected to office, only to reappear at the dawn of a new election campaign.

Hugh M Dunbar


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