GREENWOOD, St James — Residents in the upscale community of Greenwood are renewing their call for adequate drainage infrastructure in the area, arguing that whenever there is rainfall, sections of the community are flooded.
"At the front of the community, there is usually a large build-up of water even when there hasn't been rain for days. This has been attributed to inadequate drainage to allow the water to flow freely out of the community, and therefore it causes challenges for some residents to access their homes," a resident complained.
The situation is especially dire for residents who utilise Tortuga Drive, the entrance of which easily becomes inundated and almost impassable when there is an extended period of rainfall.
President of the Greenwood Citizens' Association Madge Neil-Burnett says "sometimes it gets to the point where some residents are basically left marooned in their homes on Tortuga Drive", adding that "the situation is really, really bad".
A nearby supermarket is also facing challenges as customers sometimes have to brave the water to get into the establishment.
According to the area's residents, whenever it rains, makeshift bridges are sometimes employed to allow them limited access to sections of the community.
Neil-Burnett told the Jamaica Observer West that the matter has been brought to the attention of the political directorate for more than four years, but it is yet to be addressed.
"It was brought to their attention about four years ago, and I keep telling them. One time a whole group of them came in here and look at it. Mr [Edmund] Bartlett was here too and them go back and say them go do something about it and every year him [Bartlett] say him going to do something about it and nothing nuh done," the prominent businesswomen complained.
She stated that in the past she tried to remedy the situation by doing some work on her own but in spite of that, the situation continues to worsen.
"What happens it [road] is sinking, each time the rain falls and vehicle drive on it, it sink and I try to do my best all the while, even two, three years ago but it keep recurring because the water is not draining and that is why I don't do anything more to it," said Neil- Burnett.
She is now worried about the health of citizens given the threat posed by vector-borne diseases.
"After a while you see mosquitoes lay eggs in there [water] and I have to be throwing kerosene oil or some old oil in the water to prevent the mosquitoes from breeding up," she stated.
When contacted, Member of Parliament for St James East Central Edmund Bartlett, in whose constituency Greenwood falls, said that despite a willingness to work with residents to remedy the situation, there are greater issues linked to how the community was initially developed.
"The issue is that when the rain falls, the place floods out because it was improperly conceived and developed. The developers did not put in the necessary storm water drain facilities to enable the appropriate drainage," he told the Observer West.
"Those developments happened long before I became MP, and the truth is we are working with them as best as we can to try and solve the problem," he stressed.
He argued that the matter of poor development has only served to put "unwarranted pressure" on the Government to remedy mistakes initially made by the developers.
"The pressure comes on the Government and our agents to try and correct it. The correction is very expensive sometimes hugely expensive, and also could be very inconvenient to some of the people who have bought properties there," he lamented.