Rio Grande residents await road repairs
Rio Grande Valley, Portland:
The farming area of the Rio Grande Valley in Portland, which has endured some of the worst road conditions for the better part of 30 years, is expressing relief at news that repairs are to be done soon.
The deplorable road conditions, which have resulted in significant loss of earnings and income for hundreds of farmers, compounded by a nose-dive in tourism, had many residents, like 78-year-old Joshua Thomas, pondering whether repairs were possible during their lifetime.
"We have been abandoned
by successive governments," Thomas, a retired teacher, told The Gleaner. "It was just empty promises from day one. This valley is the breadbasket of the parish, and many of our young people have migrated elsewhere in search of better economic opportunities. This is fertile territory, and the Govern-ment speaks about 'grow what we eat and eat what we grow', and many have stuck to that, but have suffered heavy losses."
Heavy rainfall and poor maintenance have contributed to deplorable road conditions in just about every community in the Rio Grande Valley, including Seaman's Valley, Moore Town, Cornwall Barracks, Belle View, and Mill Bank.
But recently, consideration has been given to the terrible state of the roadway in the Rio Grande Valley, which also accounted for one of the most horrific truck accidents in Jamaica's history, which claimed the lives of 14 persons in 2008.
"Farming is my life," argued Milton Hall, a farmer at Mill Bank.
"The terrible road condition has prevented me from transporting the bulk of my produce, including yam, dasheen, banana, and pepper, to market. With the expected repairs, vehicles will now have easy access to not only collect farm produce, but students and employed persons will be able to get to school and work on time," he continued.