Community leaders and residents of Linden are continuing to highlight the substandard quality of works being done under an ongoing $300 million road and drainage rehabilitation programme.
The infrastructural works have their genesis in a commitment by President Bharrat Jagdeo in mid-2010, where he committed the funds to rehabilitate a number of roads at Mackenzie and Wismar.
Contracts were awarded to several companies and the works commenced in the latter part of 2011. However, from the onset, the road and drainage works were noticeably of very poor quality and have been rejected by residents and regional and municipal leaders but all to no avail, which much of the work left incomplete.
Some of the areas that have been affected include sections of Amelia’s Ward, Blue Berry Hill, and Central Mackenzie. Recently, Interim Manage-ment Committee Chairman (IMC) Orin Gordon led a team of reporters through several of the affected areas and spoke of the level s of interventions that were taken with no results.
A walk through Green-heart, at Mackenzie, offers evidence of the substandard level of works being done, including the fact that a number of the works are incomplete. In some instances, no work has been done to conclude projects for more than two months. Culverts which were dug up at the head of Potaro road, Dageraad Avenue and other cross streets are incomplete and are in a state that makes it inaccessible to vehicles. Pedestrians, as a result, have to jump lengths to get across.
Compounding the situation is the fact that the drains have been clogged, which causes flooding whenever it rains. It is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies and other insects.
At Amelia’s Ward, Blue Berry Hill and sections of One Mile Wismar, similar situations exist. They are further compounded by erosion. A number of the roads said to have been completed less than a month ago are in a sorry state. “Look at that eh. What is really going on? No car man can’t risk driving he car over deh,” said a passerby referring to one of the new concrete bridges. Whenever it rains, the water washes away the materials between the poorly constructed roads, forms its own drain and causes the newly constructed one to crumble.
Several persons living on the downward slope complained of suffering as a result of the poor road works. They explained that whenever it rains, the water flows over the road, bypassing the new drains and floods their yard—a situation that was non-existent prior to the road being done.
“This is so unfair because what is happening is that the water now washing away my yard and threatening the foundation of my house, we now have to be propping up deh foundation, if not my whole house will crumble one of these day,” said a distraught resident.
According to Gordon, supervision for the works seems non-existent and despite representation by himself and other regional leaders. He added that while there is an issue of minimal supervision, contractors have been using substandard material to construct the roads.
Gordon expressed disappointment at the fact that despite the millions that are being spent on the multi-million dollar infrastructural works across Linden—“and those are being done substandard”—IMC councillors have agreed to have the $10 million subvention for 2012 be utilised for road repairs. “I can’t seem to understand the reasoning there but I am only one,” said Gordon.
He added that at prior sittings of the council, it was agreed that $4 million of the 2011 subvention would have been used to do urgent repairs to the Mackenzie Municipal market. For over three years, whenever it rains stall holders at the bottom flat of the market suffer large amounts of water washing down on them from the upper flat, damaging their goods and in many cases causing them to close there businesses until the rain subsides.
“I am saying that this is totally unfair because these are the people who diligently pay there stall rental and we can’t have them suffer like this for much longer,” added Gordon.
The proposal for the repairs was put down by the Ministry of Local Govern-ment, although it has been budgeted for repeatedly over a number of years. The ministry advised that the monies be spent on more roads and drains instead. “We are talking about more sub-standard works again. What a meager $10 million can do as opposed to the bigger millions, almost $400 million, the government is putting in right now?” Gordon asked.
Gordon said that the poor infrastructural works being done through the government ministry falls on the shoulders of the IMC councillors. “They (IMC councilors) called a subsequent meeting and decided that they are going to agree with the ministry and spend the whole subvention on roads and drains then what can I do?
This is the kind of mess that we own people putting us in and the hard facts are that the government agencies not doing nothing when you question the quality of works being done and we own people agreeing to more poor roads and drains then maybe they like it so,” he said.