Thu | Jan 21, 2021

Portlanders face water woes amid COVID fears

Published:Monday | May 4, 2020 | 12:14 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
Derrick Myrie catching water from a source in his community.
Derrick Myrie catching water from a source in his community.

THE MOVEMENT of people in Spring Bank, Portland, has been restricted as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but according to Claude ‘Bobo’ Daley, by adhering to the restrictions, it is their way of staying safe.

Daley explained that residents are observing the regulations and guidelines set by the Ministry of Health and Wellness by wearing face masks when they go out in the public space, or by simply staying home.

The Rastaman was also quick to point out that there is unease among Portlanders, with some even panicking since the emergence of COVID-19.

“We see people have dem mask and dem ting weh dem spray. But you can tell say dem ‘fraid,” said Daley.

“Yuh hardly see anybody on the street, and worse when it touch night. Di time hot now and a man might siddung pon him verandah, but road clean and it come in like a ghost town. From it touch 6 o’clock, yah so come in like a ‘jumbi town’ ... everybody gone home.”

Daley admitted that he and other residents were deeply concern after learning that a resident from their area tested positive for COVID-19 in March, which sent shock wave throughout the community.

“Mi hear say dem find a case dung di road. Mi kinda scared and mi still nuh trust dem, because dem can still have it inna dem and it nuh affect dem, but it affect we. Dis a my likkle corners, but mi nuh open it up, ‘cause you see di money transfer ting, mi scared a dem ting deh, you seet. Mi nuh waan sell nothing,” Daley added.

The makeshift corner shop, which has been closed down since the onset of COVID-19, once offered to the public the opportunity to purchase soft drinks, bottled water, banana chips, biscuits, and bun on cheese, among other items.

But while Daley is happy with the measures being practised by residents, he bemoaned the absence of piped water in the community, which makes it challenging to engage in frequent handwashing and bathing.

Another resident, Derrick Myrie, who guided The Gleaner news team to an abandon tank/water catchment, which he said was the only source of water in the community, spoke about the importance of preserving that water source.

“This is where we all have to come to catch water during the dry season,” he said.

“People from all over in Shotover, Light House, and Free School come here to catch water. This source has never dried up, and I have been living here for more than 30 years ... it has always been running. We also use this water for drinking purposes.”

The three communities named by Myrie are roughly three to four miles from that water source and is increasingly difficult to traverse due to the rugged terrain.