Barabina road impassable one month after $3m gov’t repairs

A little over a month since the Barabina road, Region One  was rehabilitated by the government, the Regional Chairman has condemned the work since the artery has reverted to its deplorable and impassable condition.

The flooded road that persons had to walk through to get to their destination.
The flooded road that persons had to walk through to get to their destination.

It was reported on May 25th by Stabroek News that according to GINA the Region One community’s road was rehabilitated as part of a promise that was made by Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson earlier in the year.

The minister had told GINA that when she had visited the road in February it was in a deplorable condition and filled with lots of holes and she subsequently engaged her senior Minister, David Patterson to address the concern. The discussion resulted in “successful negotiations and monies being allocated to the region for a new road.”

However, a letter to Stabroek News three days later had pointed out that the road was still in a deplorable condition. “I was visiting the village on Sunday, May 22, and the road was in a deplorable condition. Funnily enough two vehicles were stuck and had to be pulled out – one by a tractor and the other by a pick-up,” the letter writer who preferred to remain anonymous had stated, pointing out the entire road in Mabaruma and beyond is in a very bad state and no efforts were being made to improve the lives of the people.

The condition of the road a few days ago
The condition of the road a few days ago

Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley confirmed yesterday to Stabroek News that while the road had been rehabilitated sometime in late April, it had deteriorated again and was now impassable.

“They looked at the place and parts of the road that were affected over the years to have it rehabilitated and they would’ve shaped and graded some parts,” Ashley said, pointing out that the contractors would’ve used bricks and other material. Ashley explained that he was unaware of the project being done until he was told about it. He related that a sum of approximately $3M was allocated to the restoration of the road but such an amount was nowhere close to what the regional engineers had estimated for “proper” works on it.

“As it relates to the road it is flooding again, back to square one. The works that was done would’ve been short lived so the residents now have to fetch their ration and produce because it is impassable for vehicles to cross,” he said, stating that as a form of relief to the people of the community, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) would’ve rehabilitated a cat walk that would’ve become dilapidated.

“Even with that being done it will be pressure on the residents because they have to lift all of their produce to take to the markets because no vehicles can pass,” Ashley pointed out.

Ashley explained that the RDC is willing to have a collaboration with Central Government to ensure that the issues in the community are looked at in a timely manner that will bring relief to the people.

Sarah Browne, Regional Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of the Public Infrastructure Standing Committee, explained that the amount of money that was given to do the road was a “total waste of resource” and “it couldn’t put a scratch or dent with fixing the road.” She explained that because the road is a “swamp road, like a dam”, which connects Broomes Estate to Barabina, it would’ve sunk and eroded over time because of the high tides.

“Our engineer did an estimate to get back the road to a more passable state and it was way over the $3M that was given,” she said, stating that revetment of the entire road is needed in addition to additional support underneath. “What they did didn’t make a difference from the beginning and by the time they exhausted that money nothing was done,” she added.

Exploring some possible permanent fixes, Browne explained there are several possibilities which include building a new road and a complete rehabilitation of the current one.

“They could make a new road from Khan’s Hill to Barabina since the soil type there is much more compact and cohesive and wouldn’t sink like the current road,” she said, pointing out that if the intention is to repair the current one then there would be a need to build a higher revetment and reinforcement, which she said would take a large sum of money.

Stabroek News tried yesterday to contact Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Ferguson for a comment but was unable to.

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