Sat | Feb 24, 2018

A stinking mess! - Raw sewage overflowing in Portia's constituency angers residents

Published:Sunday | December 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson
Keisha Minto-Bailey, acting principal of the Family Counselling Basic School in White Wing, St Andrew.
Sewage-filled potholes in White Wing, St Andrew.
Joel Howie skips over sewage water with his daughter in White Wing, St Andrew.

The stench of sewage was almost choking as it rose from open craters on a section of Hagley Park Road near the White Wing community in South West St Andrew.

This is just metres from the Portia Simpson Miller Square, and almost dead centre in the constituency which has been represented by the former prime minister for years.

With the stink ripe at its gates, especially whenever there is rainfall, classes at the Family Counselling Basic School are repeatedly interrupted, the environment unhealthy and unbearable for the toddlers, teachers and administrative staff.

"The stench is terrible! When it comes up, especially when it rains, it affects us in that we have to be locking up. We have to be sanitising. We have to make sure we tell the children how they should stay away from it," lamented acting principal Keisha Minto-Bailey, as she frowned in frustration and hopelessness.

"Most of the children are from the community and they have to walk by it. So even when they are walking on the sidewalk and the vehicles are passing, the motorists are just not sensitive. They just splash, and I don't know if they are not seeing the potholes."

Bemoaning her challenge at keeping the doors of the infant school open because of the situation, Minto-Bailey noted that it was even more challenging recently due to the consistent, heavy rain.

The potholes - varying in sizes and filed with a pungent concentration of sewage and debris - were menacing to motorists who travelled through them at times with bumpers submerged.

Some motorists were taken aback by the horrible situation, quite unlike the taxi drivers and commuters who regularly traverse the thoroughfare.


No hope of problem being fixed


They have become accustomed to the filth they face every day and some have even given up hope of ever seeing the problem resolved.

The sewage runs from a flooded gully near the community clinic. It flows underneath and across the road then resurfaces from a manhole in front of two business establishments, one of which is a gym operated by Joel Howie.

"It a deal with we bad, me bredda. See me little youth catch all the hand, foot and mouth disease deh, but is true me mother a tell me that is not the (sewage) water or me myself would a block the road, bredda," Howie told The Sunday Gleaner.

"The Government is messing themselves. Is Portia area this and Portia sit down ... and not doing anything. Portia sit down and act like she want people to do her job for her. She don't business!" charged Howie as he pointed to faecal matter floating in water in front of him.

Meanwhile, as Minto-Bailey carried out renovation work on her school, hoping this would entice new parents, sponsors and ultimately lift the enrolment count from 30, the sewage problem remained a worry.

"Some parents walk with stones in them hand come for their children after school. Some of them just make up them mind to throw it in any car that splash them," she related, her troubled expression a reflection of the volatility of the White Wing community.

When contacted, Senior Public Relations Officer at NWC Karen Williams told The Sunday Gleaner that she had no prior knowledge of the problem.

"First time that I have heard about it. I've not heard anything about it from the citizens or internally, but I will do some investigations on it," said Williams.