Letter of the day: Bad mosquitoes and bad roads
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Your editorial of January 23, 2016, 'Towards a effective mosquito plan', finally convinced me to write this letter about bad roads and boatloads of mosquitoes.
Given the threat of ZIKV and the devastation caused by chikungunya, I was shocked at the level of mosquito infestation in Old Harbour Bay at present.
I was also stunned by the poor quality of a stretch of road in Bay Bottom that has not been repaired for perhaps 20 or more years and looks more like a dry gully course than a road.
Incredibly, the mosquito infestation is the everyday experience of the people of Old Harbour Bay which, unsurprisingly, was hit particularly hard by chikungunya; and I predict that it will be treated in similar fashion by ZIKV.
Fogging the area sporadically, as the authorities now do, sometimes once in months, will not suffice. Eradication or even the reduction of disease-carrying mosquitoes from an area like Old Harbour Bay will require an organised coordinated programme that include the authorities and the people of the community.
Such a development would be a natural outflow of a society where there is some level of respect and reciprocity between the people and their government that is responsible for providing basic services.
Perhaps one of the reasons there is not a mosquito-eradication programme in Old Harbour Bay is the unbelievably poor roads in places like Bay Bottom.
There is a stretch of road from the Old Harbour Bay Cemetery through Bay Bottom, or what was once labelled Terminal Street, that is more like a gully course than a street.
This stretch of road has been in disrepair for 20 to 30 years. This decrepit stretch of road and the unsanitary gully that runs alongside it make for the appearance of a community that time forgot. I see these two features, the mosquito infestation and the road and gully disrepair, as symbolic of the treatment of people who are not respected by their government. The problem is acute and long-standing.
I was born and raised in Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine, and in December we returned to our family home in Bay Bottom for a family reunion; it was a sad sight to see my community experiencing such a level of disrepair.
We have always been poor, but this is the worse I have ever seen. Ineffective eradication programmes and neglected road repairs are not the way to move our communities forward.
If we continue with business as usual in Old Harbour Bay, ZIKV will follow chikungunya, blight will spread and people will suffer again and descend even further into poverty as the rest of the world seeks to move forward.