Coffee workers lament lost productivity caused by landslides
Several coffee delivery workers were on Friday left feeling dejected that a day of productivity was halted due to heavy rains, which loosened boulders, landmass and other debris that came crashing down on to the Mavis Bank main road in St Andrew, rendering it impassable.
The workers, who travelled in two pickup trucks with more than 50 bags of coffee beans, are employed by the Trumpet Tree coffee factory located in the Constitution Hill district.
Stumbling upon a massive land slippage in the Guava Ridge section of the area, they began to utilise tree branches to substitute for shovels in an effort to level the earth’s surface for their trucks to pass by without tipping over the cliff’s edge.
One member of the group, when he suspected that the mounds of soil were flattened enough by the men’s efforts, made an attempt over the landslide. His unsuccessful efforts resulted in the front-right tyre of the vehicle being punctured.
This was the second tyre that had been punctured since they began their journey.
Supervisor Carlington Garnett told The Gleaner that the crew had been on the roads since 2 a.m. as they had been picking the coffee beans from the previous night (Thursday) and had made their last delivery at 8 p.m.
Since then, they had not returned home.
He continued that on Friday morning, the group encountered numerous other roadblocks and land slippages as they set out and had to make their way through by way of engaging in their own clearing exercises.
“We passed more than 50 landslides to reach here, so we don’t know if we have several more further down the hill [to encounter] or what, but for now, we’re stuck,” he said.
Daunted by the impassable Guava Ridge area, Garnett expressed that the group was uncertain about when they would be able to get moving to deliver the coffee.
He continued that they had several hundreds more boxes of coffee left that they had to pick up for delivery and that they were unable to do so.
“It’s rough, it’s very, very rough. The experience [is] not good; it’s real bad,” he expressed.
“More things could be done if we could get to go through,” he said, noting that productivity levels had decreased.
Andrew Jeffrey, a resident of Content Gap, was greatly concerned about the state of his restaurant in Industry Village, Gordon Town.
He informed The Gleaner that he ventured out into the pouring rains on Friday morning around 5:30, in an effort to check on things that were in need of urgent attention such as foods that were prepared from overnight, a fresh delivery of meats that were not in the freezer, and the uncertainty of whether electricity at the location had been disrupted, which would eventually cause spoilage if not tended to.
“I get to understand that there were several landslides down on the road, and you know from that time until now, there was no tractor or anything like that,” he said, adding that as midday had already passed, he was expecting to see some effort by the relevant authorities in ensuring ease of passage for the residents.
“It’s really inconvenient to so many people up in the hills here, and even though rain is falling, tractor can still work. Give us a little clearance. People go to work, people are locked out on the other side, people have other business ... but it’s just impassible. Nobody cannot cross it because the landslide is just too great,” he expressed.