The Estuary residents slam Bartlett over poor road conditionsThursday, June 24, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James - Raising major health and safety concerns, scores of residents at The Estuary housing development, in the St James East Central constituency, are calling on their Member of Parliament Edmund Bartlett to rehabilitate the St John Road, the major main road in the area.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer West, one The Estuary resident, Neil Chisholm, pointed out that criminals are utilising the deplorable state of the roadway to their advantage, as residents are being targeted for robbery.
“The road condition is beyond deplorable. It is so bad that you have criminal elements now lurking on the streets and just waiting for people to slow down, well there is no way you can speed so there is always a go slow on the road because it is that bad,” said Chisholm.
“Two females got held up on the road so far, in the last two months and this was what strike the outrage in the scheme because this is a Government scheme, this is not a privately owned scheme and there is no road at all to come up here,” he said.
Expressing disappointment, Chisholm added that he is starting to believe the act of blocking roads to protest is the only way citizens can get their MPs' attention in Jamaica. This, he said, is a very saddening realisation.
“It is just sad to know that each time we need something to be done about roads and water, we have to block roads and protest,” he stated.
“We can never have a MP come down and look on the road and say, 'Look, the road is in a very bad condition, let us fix it.' No, you have to go there to block roads and burn tyres and hinder other people from going about their daily lives,” Chisholm added.
Another resident, Keneisha Reid, who is heavily pregnant, explained to the Observer West that she is very concerned about health, especially as her due date draws closer.
“I am very concerned about my health, and I am pregnant so whenever I have to travel on it (road), it really affects me. Right now, I am near to my due date, and I am fretting because if I am to go [into labour] now, I would have to travel on that road and I probably have the baby before I even get to the hospital,” said Reid.
Driving on the St John Road at night is always a frightening experience, Reid said, as she anticipates the worst but hopes for the best. This, she said, has been weighing heavily on her mind.
“If someone comes out on you in the night, you cannot even speed because you probably try to speed and the car's front end falls off or you hit something under the car. [We] are not safe and I would really appreciate it if something could be done about the road,” she said.
Another resident of the community, Karen Jarrett, shared that the road conditions have caused some financial strain, noting that she has to take her vehicle to the mechanic weekly for repairs.
“I have to be going to the mechanic almost every week to fix front end and to get tyres. It is not easy, worse when you are a single parent; I have to be stressing because I am a single parent with three children,” said Jarrett.
She added that more needs to be done to ensure the safety of the residents.
“They can do better because they claim that this is a residential area and of course, we thank God for getting the house, but the roads need to be fixed. They are going to wait until something drastic happens to a resident, then you are going to say they are sorry,” she said.
Robert Thompson, resident of The Estuary housing development, has also expressed his disappointment about the poor conditions of the road.
“It is a disgrace to see the minister of tourism and a prominent Member of Parliament such as Edmund Bartlett having this kind of road in his constituency,” he said.
He pointed out that the lack of street lights located on sections of the main road is also encouraging criminals to lurk there.
“Several robbery attempts have been made on this road in the nights because you have to drive slowly through the potholes. There are no street lights in the vicinity of the bad road, somebody is going to lose their life there,” said Thompson.
When the Observer West contacted Bartlett, he too expressed concerns about the state of the roads. He promised, however, that they will be “fixed as quickly as possible”.
“The estimate has been done for $211 million and we are working with the minister [without portfolio in the Ministry] of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Everald Warmington, to have them fixed as quickly as possible,” Bartlett said.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login