Sat | Dec 2, 2023

Bad roads in western Hanover no nearer to being fixed following tour

Published:Monday | September 25, 2023 | 12:05 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government and rural development.
Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government and rural development.

Western Bureau

Following a tour of some badly damaged roads in Western Hanover, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, while issuing some criticisms about the roads being allowed to deteriorate to the level they are at, said he was not in a position to say when any form of repair will be done to them.

McKenzie, who was in Hanover at the invitation of Member of Parliament for Western Hanover, Tamika Davis, made the disclosure during a press briefing midway through the tour, where he bemoaned the fact that the roads are in a terrible condition, and should not have been allowed to deteriorate to that extent.

“We have been visiting a number of areas (in Hanover Western); we went to Prosper, to look at the road conditions there, and the question I want to ask is that, why is it a road as that (in Prosper), has been able to deteriorate to the extent that the road network has literally gone,” he questioned.

Making mention that the member of parliament, Davis, has only been in that office for three years, McKenzie opined, “It means that it is decades of neglect that we are seeing in many of these communities.”

He noted that West Avenue, or cemetery road, as it is commonly called in the parish capital, Lucea, which he also visited, is also in a deplorable condition, noting that that road is heavily used by students of the nearby high school, and residents of that area.

McKenzie said he has asked for estimates to be done for the repair of both the Prosper and West Avenue roads, in Lucea, so that his ministry can tackle the problems there.

When questioned about how soon the residents of the two areas will see some response to the bad road conditions they face daily, after the road repair estimates have been forwarded to his ministry, McKenzie was not prepared to commit to an anwer.

“That is not a question that I am prepared to answer … because once the cost is above a certain value it (the repair of the roadway) has to go to tender, and that in itself takes time,” he said, noting that there are certain protocols in place with respect to the cost of projects, which have to be followed.

“The fact is that I am surprised that nowhere inside the Hanover Municipal Corporation there is an estimate on any of the two roads. I am surprised, and that is saying a lot,” he argued.

“I am prepared, once the estimates have come in, and we are satisfied, that we will commence the process, so I am not going to say next week or the following week or next month, but it is going to take some time, and I am confident in the technical team here in Hanover, that will be working closely with the technical team in the ministry, to have the necessary estimates prepared and forwarded to the ministry,” he stated.

Davis said she was very delighted that McKenzie visited the constituency at her request, noting that her request was based on complaints from residents.

“For so long I have been complaining about conditions here in Hanover Western, and the minister is here in direct response to the complaints that we have,” she argued.

She itemised the complaints she has been receiving as having to do with roads, water, and garbage collection, adding “not that they are the only ones, but those are the three that come to the fore more often than not”.