A view of the Marson Town road in Oracabessa, St. Mary. - photos by Ian Allen/Staff Photographer
WHAT'S NOT WORKING?
Roads like Airy Hill, Canoe Pond, Coloraine Street and Marson Town Road in Oracabessa, St. Mary.
Saying they need urgent repairs is an understatement.
If the relevant authorities are not going to fix the roads in Oracabessa, here is a suggestion: Change the name to 'O-rockyroadabessa' and declare ita tourist attraction.
Or better yet, the residents should plan the staging of an event, which has global significance, like say a Cricket World Cup, and they would definitely get their roads repaired.
SYNOPSIS OF THE SITUATION
Expect a hill and gully ride while travelling on the aforementioned roads in Oracabessa.
There is nothing delicate about travelling on Airy Hill. A more fitting name would have been 'Eerie Hill'. Gigantic cracks, ditches and potholes have formed a deadly trio that has done much harm to the roadway.
Suzette Gordon of Airy Hill said as bad as the road appeared when we visited, the ultimate disaster is in the rainy seasons.
"How the road look now is the least. You waan see it when rain fall, is a boat you waan to sail on it," she said. "The water lock off the road, nothing can pass, is a river the road tun into when the water back up inna the pothole dem, and you bound to stay home because taxi stop run dem time deh."
Ann-Marie Beharrie supported Gordon's argument. "As far as I see it, when rain fall, whoever is out, stay out and whoever is in the community stay in because is like a little Red Sea form out there," she said. "I had to cross the Red Sea a couple weeks ago though because (it rained) while my children were out at school and I had to go get them."
Beharrie blamed the St. Mary Parish Council for the current condition of the roads. She claims the local authority has been negligent. "I live here over 15 years and I can hardly count the amount of times I see road works gwaan. The last time I remember is before the last general election some work did get done but is de usual quick fix dat, we need real repairs."
One Marson Town Road resident, who has lived in the area for 30 years, said the responsibility of repairing the roads has seemingly been abandoned by the authorities and has been placed squarely on the shoulders of the residents.
The St. Mary Parish Council
WHAT'S THE STATUS?
Orelle Whittley, deputy superintendent of Road and Works at the council, said he knew roads in the Oracabessa division were in need of repairs but was not sure which of them fell under the council's purview, as the National Works Agency (NWA) was responsible for some roads in the division.
Stephen Shaw, communications manager at the NWA, said that the roads mentioned were the responsibility of the parish council.
Mr. Whittley then said that he would look into the matter for clarification and provide our news team with an update. We are still awaiting that update.
The roads mentioned in Oracabessa need to be fixed. There is no getting around that. The question of maintenance surfaces once again. Ever so often we see how residents bemoan that their roads have deteriorated over time and then the council greets them with the familiar catch phrase "we are waiting on the availability of funds to address the problem".
Residents have been waiting for years, and the more they wait, the worse the roads get and by extension the more funds will be required to fix them.
The current modus operandi of many of our state-operated agencies is grossly unacceptable. And, it is high time that punitive sanctions be imposed against such agencies for their dereliction of duty. Their negligence has caused much harm and inconvenience.
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Tell us about problems in your community. We will visit and help to lobby for action. Write to: Tyrone Reid, the Gleaner Company Limited, 7 North Street, P.O. Box 40, Kingston; fax: 922-6223, telephone: 922-3400 ext. 6364 or email: email@example.com.
Left: This is an example of the ever-expanding pothole network in sections of Oracabessa, St. Mary. Here, a resident and her child make their way down the 'safe side' of Marson Town Road. Right: Proceed with caution: A motorist makes his way through one of several gigantic potholes that have seemingly taken up permanent residence along Airy Hill Road in Oracabessa, St. Mary.