Mavis Banks Residents are people, too
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The website of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) boasts and beckons visitors looking for a challenging hike and a memorable experience to get their hiking boots on and head for the Blue Mountain Peak. Both thrilling and scenic, there is no other trail quite like it on the entire island. The pictures on the JTB's site are awesome and show the magnificence of the mountain range.
Their target audience consists of visitors, tourists and guests looking for true adventure. It promises that there's little more memorable and beautiful than hiking the Blue Mountain and says staff would make arrangements to pick you up from Kingston or Mavis Bank. This leads me to the road from Mavis Bank in St Andrew towards the Blue Mountain Peak in St Thomas.
St Andrew and St Thomas share a river border between Mavis Bank and Hagley Gap. Years of decline and decay have left a broken, rusty, rotted bridge and a ford impassable when it rains heavily. For many decades, with different governments, the pleas of constituents have been falling on deaf ears. Politicians get mad when we approach them about how we feel forgotten and dissed. They get irate when we draw attention to the lack of infrastructure and they get livid when we write to the newspapers and bare our souls.
TWO DIFFERENT REALITIES
The stark contrast between the photographs on the JTB's website and the photographs of the main road, ford and rotted horse-buggy bridge at the border of these two parishes suggests one reality for tourists and one reality for the residents of our poor community. Ecotourists may be drawn to the quaint, rugged and unspoilt trails for their hike; that is good news and we should promote those areas of undisturbed, natural beauty, but the residents are people, too. They need roads to transport the sick, schoolchildren, market produce and simply to get to work.
During bad weather, should we not be able to go to work and school like the rest of Jamaica or should we just accept our reality of not being able to cross it?
CAPT SANDRA M. TAYLOR WIGGAN