Fri | Oct 22, 2021

Danvers Pen residents plead for help as river threatens overflow

Published:Monday | August 30, 2021 | 12:08 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer

Despondent residents of Danvers Pen in St Thomas are once again sounding the alarm for state authorities to maintain the Negro River, which threatens the community whenever it rains.

They say the river needs to be properly trained.

Farmer and businessman Francois Grant, of New Road in the area, is fearful that the river might soon breach its banks and damage his property and the homes of other residents.

“The river is about to overflow banks. All of the groynes are washing away. For over a year the river has been steadily eating away the banks. Right now, we don’t even need hurricane for it to happen, just heavy rains and it gone,” he said.

As he watched the receding water on Friday, after two days of sustained rainfall as Tropical Storm Ida scoured the island, Grant foresees danger for the rural community.

The farmer lamented that with groynes being submerged by water, the district was in jeopardy with the embankment being eroded.

“The river threatens our nearby farm. We have animals and a little business and right below us is the community. Once the last piece of the old groyne washes away, then we are in trouble,” Grant told The Gleaner.

He fears that not only will homes and lands be flooded, but that residents could lose access to a key source of water for domestic purposes. Flooding could jeopardise the only means of walking safely to the river, Grant said.

Danvers Pen has suffered with water-supply challenges for some time.

Grant also revealed that should the existing groynes be washed away, a similar fate might await a bridge that connects communities such as Font Hill, Georgia, and Trinityville to major towns in St Thomas.

Residents are again calling for the relevant authorities to address their concerns before the situation worsens, causing loss of life and property.

The National Works Agency said that while the concerns have been noted and the area is currently on a list of ‘matters to be addressed’, there are no scheduled works for the Negro River at this time because of budgetary constraints.