Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Latium residents unhappy *…. - makeshift bridge not cutting it*

Published:Tuesday | October 6, 2015 | 10:00 AMOkoye Henry
Residents of Latium, in St. James, making their way across the makeshift bridge they have constructed.

Residents of Latium district in St James are hopping mad at their member of parliament (MP), Edmund Bartlett, whom they are blaming for the slow pace of the reconstruction work on the bridge, which leads into their community.

Since the bridge was demolished just over two months ago to facilitate reconstruction work, the residents have had to be using a makeshift structure which cannot be used whenever it rains.

However, Bartlett, the MP for East Central St James, which includes Latium, is rejecting the criticism, saying it is politically motivated.

"It is a straight case of politics being played. The reconstruction of the bridge is on target," Bartlett told The Gleaner in dismissing the allegations of him being negligent in getting the bridge reconstructed on a timely basis.

not strong enough

While the makeshift bridge has been partially serving the needs of the Latium residents, when it rains, it has to be moved because it is not strong enough to withstand the heavy volume of water which flows through the river beneath it. Just over two weeks ago, several residents, including children and the elderly, were left stranded on the outskirts of the community for hours as the makeshift bridge had to be moved to

prevent it from being washed away following heavy rains.

"If rain fall today, we affi take up the bridge again because anyhow rain fall and we left it, the river will wash it weh," one resident told The Gleaner. "If that happens, nobody can't pass again."

Since the main bridge was demolished, those residents who own motor vehicles have not been able to drive home as the other route to the community would extend their travel distance by several miles.

raper man

"It is like miles from here and we can't afford to go down there because 'raper man' in that area, and a lot of things can happen to our kids," one resident told The Gleaner. The deplorable state of the road leading into Latium district is also an issue of much concern to the residents.

"We nah vote. Who we go vote fah? Waste we a go waste we time say we a go vote. We don't have anyone to talk to," argued one resident. "As far as we can see, we nuh exist round here."

With regard to the road, Bartlett said he had taken Richard Azan, minister of state for transport, works and housing, to look at it twice, but according to him, there is no money to effect the repairs. "It was on the JDIP (Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme), but they took it off," said Bartlett. "It was estimated that we would need $100,000 to fix the road."