Fri | Dec 3, 2021
River as Friend and Foe

Swamp Road’s love-hate relationship with the Montecot River

Published:Monday | March 8, 2021 | 12:08 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
Nony Banton washes her dishes in the Montecot River when there is little or no water flowing through her pipes.
Nony Banton washes her dishes in the Montecot River when there is little or no water flowing through her pipes.
Zoey Banton is one of the many persons who take advantage of the friendly Montecot River that flow near Swamp Road in St Thomas where she comes to bathe when the water pressure is low in her community. Banton was recently seen bathing her nephew in the riv
Zoey Banton is one of the many persons who take advantage of the friendly Montecot River that flow near Swamp Road in St Thomas where she comes to bathe when the water pressure is low in her community. Banton was recently seen bathing her nephew in the river.
Devon McFarlane, a shop owner in Swamp Road, said he would like to turn his shop into a store, but because the spring leading to the Montecot River, increase in pressure, it makes it difficult to transport goods to the shop.
Devon McFarlane, a shop owner in Swamp Road, said he would like to turn his shop into a store, but because the spring leading to the Montecot River, increase in pressure, it makes it difficult to transport goods to the shop.
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Comfortably perched on what seemed like a retaining wall, Martin Miller, a resident of Swamp Road in St Thomas, idly watched as another man gathered large rocks from the banks of Montecot River, which flows through the small community.

Just weeks before, residents had to stay clear of its rushing waters after the popular river overflowed its banks following heavy rains in the parish.

Sharing with The Gleaner that the waterway has not only been used to carry out domestic activities by people in the area, but has also served as a source of recreation in the community, Miller, who also goes by the name ‘Sadam’, noted that he is known for throwing weekly parties along its banks.

“Mi keep river party every Sunday. We dig a big hole, cook some food and play some music; so people come and enjoy themselves.

“About three weeks now mi nuh keep none though, because of the heavy rain weh day. We use bags to pack the holes, but since the big rain, the river get too heavy and keeps washing away the bags, suh every week we have to be buying new ones, so we stop. That, plus the curfew hours mek mi kinda cool off it, too,” he said.

WATCH: River as Friend and Foe: Copper Hole, Negro River and the Montecot River

Recapping how he was impacted by the heavy rain he described, Miller revealed that in addition to the disruption of his regular party, his relative’s house was completely flooded out, and that he has been left stranded at various points in the community on several occasions due to impassable roads.

However, despite the inconveniences, he was quick to assure The Gleaner that the Montecot River is definitely a friend to the community of Swamp Road.

He said, “This river never dry yet. It might run low at some parts down the road, but it’s always flowing up here. It is a good, good friend to the community. It helps out whole heap because when water gone out the pipe, this is always here to supply us. We cook, wash and can even spread out clothes on the stone, so while you washing, your clothes can a dry same time. It’s a big help to the district, trust me.”

Though admitting that although he has had his fair share of troubles with the river himself, shopkeeper Devon McFarlane also labelled the waterway a friend of the community.

According to him, “From the rain start, there has been a lot of deep holes in the river. People come from all about to enjoy it. It’s more of a friend, because it has not hurt anyone so far.”

All the same, he shared that it is not one to take lightly, especially during the rainy season.

“Weh day the river cut the fording in two and dig out a deep hole weh could have covered anybody, nuh matter how tall dem be.

“We had to be using the foot bridge; so whosoever have goods to carry up had to do so on them head or by bicycle. Sometime the water even cover the foot bridge, so when we reach we have to wait until the water draw before we carry across our goods pon we head. It really struggling sometimes,” he shared.