Wed | Dec 7, 2016

'Jubby' patching potholes in Portland from the heart

Published:Saturday | February 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer

PORT ANTONIO, Portland:

FOR MORE than 17 years, Herman Cousins has been single-handedly patching potholes along the main road in Portland, extending from Long Bay to Port Antonio - without giving any serious thought to compensation.

Cousins, who is better known as 'Jubby', is a resident of Priest Man's River in East Portland, a community, which is arguably one of the most depressed in the parish, with little or no economic activity for its residents.

But despite the unbearable hardships encountered at times, Cousins, who described the roads in the parish as the worst islandwide, is passionate about his role of not only easing the burden on motorists, but also to prevent the likelihood of any major crash along the roadway.

"It is not about getting paid. I am always happy to patch potholes that present danger to motorists and other road users. I have seen drivers swerving to avoid potholes, and I am conscious that an accident could occur, especially with a small child who might be passing by. I have been commended by taxi operators and other motorists as they are now able to drive more comfortably. Yes, I managed to pick up a dollar here and there while working, but the work that I am doing comes from the heart."

Earlier this week, Cousins was spotted patching several potholes along the Clear Spring Road, less than a mile outside of Port Antonio, using cement, sand, marl, and stones.

RECOGNISED AND COMMENDED

The much-recognised and invaluable work being done by the Portland resident has not gone unnoticed, as some prominent persons have commended the effort of the 43-year-old, who they said, after 17 years, remains committed to the patching of potholes along the major thoroughfare, which extends for more than 15 miles.

"This young man has proven that much can be done with just a little," said Errol Hanna, owner of Cliff Hanger Restaurant, Bar, Grill, and Resort. He continued: "The Government requires millions to fix roads, but what this resident is doing is quite amazing. The kind of material that he uses lasts for a very long time, and he is not an engineer. Everyone needs to hear about this heroic effort."

But according to Cousins, who basically buys the material from his own pocket, one of the things that have kept him going over the years is the response from motorists, who, after expressing thanks and exchanging a few kind words of encouragement, also urged him to visit other bad spots in various communities to carry out his work.

"I am not about extorting anyone. Whenever a motorist drives by and gives me a dollar, it is appreciated. Whether they choose not to give, that's their choice, but the work will still go on nevertheless. No one asked me to begin this journey. I took it on to myself as there is a need for it. I am now well-known and, therefore, I am able to get a little sand and stone from residents, free of cost, to assist with the repair. As soon as I have completed work in one area, I move on to another location. As long as I remain healthy, the work will go on."

rural@gleanerjm.com