Toll gate residents blame highway project for floodingMonday, September 06, 2021
TOLL GATE, Clarendon — Convinced that work being done on the Clarendon leg of the new highway is behind the recent flooding of their homes, residents of Duke Street in the Toll Gate community last Thursday staged a loud but peaceful protest.
Their Member of Parliament Lothan Cousins, who represents Clarendon Southwestern, is hoping solutions can be found during a meeting this week with the project contractors. The Opposition MP is also urging the Government to listen to the residents' appeals for help.
According to resident Carlos Robinson, there has been very little attention given to their warnings to project engineers so far, as they work on the highway that will take traffic from May Pen to Williamsfield in Manchester.
“I have been talking about dis thing before this even start. We need an open drain; so when dem come, they will have to clean back and front and build a proper one so the water can flow. Right now di whole a my yard flood out. Pickney, everybody — mi lose all mi chicken. Nobody no come to wi come say nothing and wi nah stop block dis road until justice is done,” he vowed.
Peter Edwards, who said he has been living in Toll Gate since he left high school, complained that this was the first time his house had been flooded and so he was convinced it is linked to the work being done.
“It a get from bad to worse. Mosquitoes biting di pickney dem and nobody come around and seh anything more than just promises, and that's it. We… a go tek di ting inna wi own hands until wi get justice and mek dem know seh wi serious, because we need a proper water drain,” he stressed.
One woman, who gave her name only as Jennifer, said the flooding was just the latest blow from the roadwork. Previous promises of compensation for dust and noise nuisance, she claimed, were not kept.
“Wi don't get nothing all now — and that was over five months ago — and wi don't see nobody come. Some people house crack up and now wi flood out,” she said.
The MP, who stressed that residents were not opposed to the project, said they simply want a solution found to the issues raised. Cousins said he has written to the contractors, National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC), and they are working on meeting early this week to hopefully reach “an amicable resolution of the matter”.
“These residents are anxious and are awaiting the intervention of NROCC, and I as MP stand with and support the people,” he said. “I'm asking NROCC and the Government of Jamaica to take the concerns of the residents into account and to not play any form of politics in respect of this matter.”