Port Kaituma residents give mixed reviews on meeting over Matarkai road

Residents of Port Kaituma have given mixed reviews of the recent discussions with representatives of the Ministry of Communities on the deplorable state of the Matarkai Main Access Road.

Last Tuesday, a technical team representing the ministry visited the area and a meeting was held aimed at engaging frustrated residents over possible solutions to the current state of the Matarkai road.

The team was said to have comprised Ministerial Liaison Mark Crawford; Principal Regional Development Officer Surendra Khayyam; Project Manager Naeem Khan; Member of Parliament (MP) Richard Allen and officials from the region.

According residents who spoke with Stabroek News yesterday, the ministry has committed to having works on the road done in a two-phase project at a cost of $58.8 million.

Having been approved by Cabinet almost two weeks ago, contracts were awarded to Vijay Persaud and Sons Contracting Services for the stretch of road from Port Kaituma to Matthews Ridge which comes at an estimated cost of $30.8 million and V Dalip Enterprise for the Matthews Ridge to Baramita road at a cost of $28 million.

In the meantime, having received $4.2 million in subvention for the year, the Matarkai Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) has promised to carry out remedial work on the road sometime this week.

The remedial work is expected to cover the stretch of road beginning at Citrus Grove and extending to Fitzburg, with the hope of being able to provide a form of relief for the residents.

However, residents who attended the meeting said they will not be satisfied until they actually see work being done on the roads, since it is not uncommon for promises of this nature to go unfulfilled.

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, related that several residents were unsatisfied with the meeting since they were not made aware of when the actual road work will begin.

He further stated that some residents expressed unwillingness to listen to what was said by the ministry officials as they renewed their request to have President David Granger visit the area to see for himself what the people in Port Kaituma face daily.

“During elections, a lot of people came here and promised us good things, including the President. He was one of the persons who came to see us and when the roads were bad. Then to now, it has worsen and nothing has been done to fix the situation,” the resident said.

Another resident stated that she is waiting to see if the promise of remedial work by the NDC materialize before pronouncing on the issue.

She said the representatives present at the meeting told residents that while the contracts for the road work have already been signed, the contractors are awaiting mobilization.

A little over a week ago, several frustrated Port Kaituma residents staged a two-day protest in front of the Matarkai NDC over the deplorable state of the Matarkai Access road which, they say continues to deteriorate almost daily as a result of the heavy rainfall.

As result, one resident explained that persons who depend on public transportation now have to bear the burden of increased transportation fees as result of the condition of the road.

“Previously, the bus fare use to be $200 per adult, $100 for secondary school children and $40 for nursery school children but now, adults have to pay $300 while secondary school children got to pay $200 and nursery and primary got to pay $100,” the resident lamented.

Other residents like Pearly Welcome, would have suffered great financial losses as a result of damage done to two of her trucks a little over a month ago.

Welcome would have lost two of her trucks after they were involved in separate accidents costing her and her family more than $14 million as she related the trucks “write off” as they were damaged beyond repair.

She previously told Stabroek News that she believed the accidents could have been avoided had the road been in better condition.

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