Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Goldmine feels abandoned

Published:Friday | September 25, 2020 | 12:16 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Navlette Pryce, 73, speaks about her experience and fears living in the community, which is hard to access due to bad roads and cut off by the Juan De Bolas River after heavy showers.
Navlette Pryce, 73, speaks about her experience and fears living in the community, which is hard to access due to bad roads and cut off by the Juan De Bolas River after heavy showers.
Joycelyn Pearson wades through currents of the Juan de Bolas River, trying to leave Goldmine district on the border of Clarendon and St Catherine yesterday. The community gets cut off whenever there is heavy rainfall.
Joycelyn Pearson wades through currents of the Juan de Bolas River, trying to leave Goldmine district on the border of Clarendon and St Catherine yesterday. The community gets cut off whenever there is heavy rainfall.
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Seventy-three-year-old Navlette Pryce is convinced that had there been better roads in her community of Goldmine in Clarendon, her ailing husband would not have died when he did eight years ago.

Complaining that they feel cut off from civilisation, she said that residents are pained by the state of the roads in the community as they have deteriorated so badly that it is difficult for the sick to leave to seek medical attention. When it rains, it becomes impossible.

On a normal day, entering the community is a challenge as the rocky, hilly terrain pressures even the super fit. It is worse for the seniors and females, who make up a large percentage of the district.

“My husband passed off when he took sick. Is a makeshift stretcher they had to build and carry him to Bellas Gate before we could get a taxi. He died on the way to Chapelton in 2012,” she told The Gleaner.

“I don’t have anybody to take me out,” she said, should she need assistance. “No taxi pass through this way because of the road.”

She said that the residents’ sole means of transportation in the community is a taxi driver they have nicknamed ‘Donkey Cart’.

When the sick need to visit the doctor, residents sometimes have to use a makeshift stretcher made with bamboo poles, taking it to the nearest point to which a taxi can be accessed.

CUT OFF

One of the biggest worries, according to Pryce, is that when it rains heavily, the community is virtually cut off.

Pryce, who herself is a diabetic, suffers from hypertension, and is now being treated for cancer, said that all residents know that heavy rain means no exit from Goldmine.

Another resident, Winsome Pryce, harbours similar concerns and is particularly worried as her 89-year-old spouse, who suffers from high blood pressure, has to do check-ups twice monthly.

“When you fi get to doctor, is a problem,” she said, adding that the $4,000 to have him moved about on the makeshift stretcher is causing a strain on her finances.

In the midst of the interview with Navlette Pryce, there was a heavy downpour that lasted over an hour. She smiled as she tried to hurry the Gleaner team away.

We were a bit too late.

Some residents who witnessed the team’s plight in not being able to “cross it” laughed, commenting, “Now you know first-hand what we talking about. You choose to visit on the right day!”

The rushing water, roaring powerfully down the Juan de Bolas River, which runs through the community, was nothing more than a little swamp when we had passed before. And as residents pointed out, just like that, they are oftentimes cut off, the only alternative being to travel through Bellas Gate to get to Rock, back to Clarendon.

Bad roads are not the only concern for the community as residents have no access to potable water. It pains them that despite a pumping station being metres away, channelling water to Bellas Gate and other surrounding areas, they cannot get a drop.

“Not because it’s not many of us live in this community, but we are people, too,” Pryce said, adding that she was hoping that recent promises to address their plight in Goldmine would bear fruit.

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