Frustrated with the deplorable condition of the East Bank of Berbice (EBB) road, residents are planning to stage another protest this year if government does not keep its promise to construct one.
The residents told Stabroek News that they were “waiting for the budget to pass to know if the road was included.”
They recalled that following a major protest last year, promises were made for the construction of a new road in the first quarter of 2014.
They had even taken the picketing exercise in front of parliament building. They lamented that it is “time the promises are fulfilled because we have been traversing the pothole-filled road for too long.”
Drivers told this newspaper that they cannot avoid driving in the potholes and that it is causing severe damage to their vehicles and resulting in them undergoing additional expenses every six weeks.
A resident told this newspaper that if the government officials know they “cannot fix the road they should come out and say what the plans are. They can’t allow the time to pass and don’t say anything.”
Some drivers said when they leave the area in the mornings they would rather work around New Amsterdam all day and return in the afternoon. Some drivers have even started to charge extra money because of the damage to their vehicles.
Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, during a sitting of the National Assembly last year had said that a feasibility study and design of the road was expected to begin shortly.
Residents recalled too that during the Arrival Day celebration at Highbury, EBB in 2012, President Donald Ramotar “went on stage and said we would get a new road. He said he would see to it that it was passed in the 2013 budget. We’re still waiting…”
Ramotar had also said during a meeting with the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association last year that “to do that road we are borrowing money from the IDB and again they want a study done before they disburse the money.”
He had nevertheless promised that his government would try to accelerate the process. The earliest date “we think that we can build the road that we want to build for the East Bank of Berbice would be the beginning of next year ,” he added.
“In the meantime, we will be putting all the resources needed to make it passable, for it to be acceptable,” he had said.
Contacted, Regional Chairman of Region Six, David Armogan told this newspaper, “There is continuous maintenance of the road by H. Nauth & Sons Construction.” He said too that the Ministry of Public Works is the agency responsible for the road.
Residents said the maintenance work was not helping too much. They stressed that “the money government is spending to patch the road they coulda save for when they’re rebuilding it.”
They said too: “In the dry weather, dust blowing all over… and when the rain fall the road is slushy and you can’t even see the potholes.”