|‘Fix our road!’ |
By CECILY ASSON Wednesday, January 8 2014
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FED-UP: Residents in rural Moruga staged a fiery protest yesterday demanding the dilapidated road be repaired or replaced. The protest led to two scho...
JUST the second day into the new school term, students of the Marac Baptist and La Lune Roman Catholic Primary schools in Moruga, had to return home yesterday due to fiery early morning protests by residents over deteriorating road conditions and other infrastructural problems.
Residents are demanding immediate repairs be done to the only roadway leading in and out of the area which according to resident Jason Julien is being reclaimed by the sea.
The road which has collapsed leads to the home of the community’s most famous daughter of the soil, captain of the West Indies Women’s Cricket team Melissa Aguillera.
“She too has to use this same road to get in and out of home whenever she is in the country and this is a total shame,” Julien said. Yesterday, from as early as 4 am and under the watchful eyes of heavily armed police officers, protesters blocked the road and set fire to debris leaving hundreds including schoolchildren, teachers and other commuters stranded.
Julien told Newsday that residents had become fed up and decided to take action yesterday because of a near mishap when, “for yet another time” a car almost ran off the road and down the precipice.”
“A few years ago, that same area claimed the life of a villager, we don’t want it to happen again. The sea is eating away at the road and something must be done quickly.” Julien said delivery trucks have stopped coming into the area which has several thriving businessplaces while taxi drivers are threatening to increase fares and the school bus shuttle service may soon stop coming as the bus will not be able to pass.
“We have real problems up here and all we have had over the years are promises from past and present administrations.” Yesterday’s protest was a last resort, Julien told Newsday, as he called for a gas station in the community.
“Imagine the one gas station has been condemned and we now have to drive about eight miles to find fuel for our vehicles. We need street lamps, we want proper bridges, a playground...the list is long.” The area’s Member of Parliament Clifton De Coteau told Newsday he empathises with the community. “I am not vex with them at all because that piece of road is really treacherous. It has been eating away for years and since I became MP, I have been writing letters asking for repairs.”
De Coteau said he took former Works Ministers Jack Warner and Emmanuel George to see the problem. “I brought it to the attention of Works Minister Suruj Rambachan and he has promised to look into the matter,” De Coteau added. “I am really trying,” he continued, “I got a bus service from Marac to Port-of-Spain but the bus service had to stop, because of the deteriorating landslip. The road is treacherous.” He believes a piece of land should be acquired on the hill which overlooks the broken road and change the direction.