Children from the community of Adams Creek and surrounding areas in the Upper Pomeroon River have to cross a dilapidated bridge to get to the Dredge Creek Primary and Nursery schools and concerned parents are pleading with the relevant authorities to have it repaired urgently.
The primary school caters for the educational needs of 69 students while the nursery school has 20 pupils.
Stabroek News visited the area on Wednesday last at the request of several concerned parents and observed children carefully navigating around large holes in the bridge where wood planks were supposed to be.
Jackie Benjamin, a mother of two children who attend the nursery and primary schools said she was concerned about the safety of her children.
“It is not safe for my two small children to cross that bridge to have to go to school from Monday to Friday. I am not only concerned and worried about my two children but also the children of others,” Benjamin said. “Representation was made to the RDC [Regional Democratic Council] since July last year and the Regional Chairman give us full assurance that the bridge would have been repaired for September month last year. Up until now, the bridge is still the same. The Regional Engineer Mr Marslow went and he visited the area. He saw the condition the bridge is in and they all keep saying that it will be fixed. These people are just giving us promises.”
Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt told Stabroek News that the state of the bridge has been engaging the attention of the RDC and some $3.3 million has been budgeted for the rehabilitation of the bridge in this year’s budget.
“We have known about the bridge at the RDC level but there is a budget allocation that needs to be managed,” Ramdatt said. “We visited and saw the condition of the bridge and have known long before July last year about the state the bridge is in. Assessments and representations were made but at the time, the bridge was not at the level where it could have caused harm nor required urgent attention.”
Ramdatt added that a community meeting was held and residents were told about the plans of the RDC.
“I am always determined to have requests that are made to the RDC honoured as early as possible but in this case we were constrained because of the financial allocation that needs to be followed. I am however pleased to say that general repairs to the bridge in the sum of $3.3 million is included in our 2017 budget and is one that will be honoured,” the regional chairman stated.
Benjamin who only recently lost a son to drowning lamented that if a child fell through a hole while walking across the bridge, the parents of the child will suffer the loss instead of the government.
“To get to the school, each child must walk over the bridge,” Benjamin said. “We as parents had planned to strike and protest but most of the other parents are afraid to speak out. I am just asking that something urgent be done.”
Head teacher of the Dredge Creek Primary School Tridownanauth Tirbini said that the bridge was not safe for students to cross.
“The Regional Engineer did come and visit and we were told that the repair of the bridge was included in the budget,” the headmaster said. “The Superintendent of Works also said that the bridge will be fixed soon so we are hoping that it is indeed done. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen several improvements because the windows on the school were fixed last year. The only thing that is of concern now is the bridge.”
The Dredge Creek Primary School was built and commissioned in 2007 and children from Kaiburi, Mc Naab and Adams Creek attend the school.