Some residents of Reid Avenue, Timehri, East Bank Demerara, an area commonly known as ‘Alliance Road,’ yesterday protested for a new access road, saying that the stretch of roadway along which they live has been neglected for years.
The residents also called on government to provide better drainage in the farming community at the back of Alliance Road, and highlighted the state of the second bridge on the access road, which is almost broken down.
“We are not asking for nothing abnormal. What we are asking for is under the United Nations Convention, the basic—good road. Why we cannot get good road?” vented Aubrey Allicock. “We are standing up and we got to get a good road,” he added.
According to Allicock, residents, including workers and especially school children, would have to trek through mud to get in and out of Alliance Road. Others living along the first half of the main access road, he claims have no such worries.
Attempts made by this newspaper to contact Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn and the Regional Democratic Council’s sub-office in Timehri for a comment on the Alliance Road issue were futile.
Scores of Alliance Road residents told Stabroek News that the last major repairs done to the access road was in 2011 before the general and regional elections. They claim that the repairs done to the road then were sub-standard and only lasted for four months.
When this newspaper visited the area, the road was in a deplorable state. Works on the first half mile of the road was evident. On the other hand, the latter half was filled with gaping pot holes that contained ankle-deep water.
According to those out in protest, the works done on the road consisted of it being graded with sand, followed by one layer of fine stone before it was tar sprayed.
Rodrick Henry, who said he has lived in the area for the past 20 years, told Stabroek News that he was told by the contractors who were carrying out the repairs that the latter half of Alliance Road was private land so it was not going to receive any attention. “They leaving we stagnant here. We can’t get to develop this place,” said an angry Henry. He added that one day after the repairs in 2011, he was able to push his hands through the repaired road during a visit by a government official who he did not identify.
“Yuh got to pay excessive money to bring in your stuff and most drivers don’t want to bring you in here,” Marla Budhoo said. Debra Lowe added, “We just begging for the road to be done.” Lowe further stated that her poultry business is suffering due to the sometimes treacherous road, especially when it rains. She said that she along with others having to transport goods in and out of the community are exploited by taxi drivers, who would charge $1,500 to $2,000 from the Timehri market to the back of Alliance Road where she lives.
Within the past 10 years, the road has been repaired thrice, according to residents. The present repairs have been ongoing for the past two weeks according to Pete Peroune. Peroune said that contractors came to do the drainage and road but stopped up to the second bridge, claiming that the latter half of the roadway was private land. “It appears that we have to do our own road,” he said, while adding that the situation was unacceptable.
“I am very concerned. The upper front of the area, they would look after it but the back here is abandoned,” a woman said. “Are we a part of this nation? That is all I want to know,” the angry woman added.
Tessa Grant, who has been living in the area for the past 17 years, also voiced her disappointment at the neglect some Alliance Road residents receive from government.
Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament Trevor Williams, who sought to help residents highlight their plight, yesterday opined that the situation was a result of the attitude of the present administration and called for a speedy resolution to the road issue. “The people are not empowered and in this particular instance they watched years and years of contractors come and go, do as they like and they end up suffering,” he said, while urging that the administration demonstrate fairness when delivering services that taxpayers are ultimately paying for. “I call on the minister and the region to look into this matter ASAP and ensure that these people get justice,” he added.
Additionally, Williams told Stabroek News that he was hoping that the administration would stop treating development as a game and commit seriously to changing the situation in Alliance Road.