Residents of Victoria say that they are surprised by the scope of repair works the Ministry of Public Infrastructure is carrying out on their main access road and are encouraging other communities to “stand up for their rights” as a result.
When the residents of the village armed themselves with placards and took to the front of their village to protest the state of the road, they did not expect the ministry, and the government by extension, to address their issue as quickly as they did, one resident related to Stabroek News yesterday.
The residents had started a protest on September 20, a little over a week ago, after they had stated that they were “completely fed up” about the deplorable and “impassable” state of their main access road.
Since its construction in the early 1980s, the road had reportedly been neglected.
When this newspaper visited, large potholes could be seen spread along the road. There were also significant structural faults where certain sections of the road were of varying levels, thus making it difficult for cars and other vehicles to traverse on a daily basis.
When Stabroek News visited the community again yesterday, residents were sitting in their yards at shops and gathered at other spots as they watched the workers from the ministry carry out repairs.
In addition to repair works starting on the road a day after their protest, for which they lauded the government, residents explained that they were also surprised at the scope of work that was being done.
“I am very surprised and satisfied,” Cheryl McCoy, a resident who has been living in the community all her life, told Stabroek News. The woman explained that when the works started the following day after the protest, they were expecting “patch work,” not for the ministry to completely rehabilitate the road.
“When they had started, we saw they were patching the holes at the front and filling it with the asphalt but we didn’t expect that they would lay the whole thing back with asphalt all the way to the end of the road,” McCoy said.
Other residents who were looking on also expressed their satisfaction and gratitude to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure for addressing the issue so quickly.
“The road was a real plight over the years for we, you know. You see how it was, and how bad it was. People never used to want to come through here and just to come out with your own vehicle used to be a hassle because you used to take long, long, and plus you had to study about dropping in them big, big holes that they used to got… So what’s happening here now is very welcomed, we are happy, very happy that they listened to us,” one resident explained.
McCoy, who owns a wholesale-retail shop in the community, had explained on the previous visit that companies were refusing to deliver goods to her entity because of the state of the roads, which was hampering her business. However, since the road has been under repairs, she told this publication yesterday that the problem is now a “thing of the past.”
One driver, who identified himself as Jason, said that the road repairs have taken a “big burden” off of his shoulders. “Now you don’t have to constantly be worrying about your vehicle being damaged and you don’t have to spend unnecessary money to repair them,” he said.
The residents also explained that the work is a testament to the “power of the people” and they are imploring other communities to stand up for their rights and to let their voices be heard.
“Even if it is at just the NDC [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] level, you have to stand up. When you not seeing things happening you have to stand up and protest or any other form of action. They have to know that they are supposed to be working for us, the people and if we not seeing any developments then we going to let our voices be heard,” one resident said.
The ministry has so far completed approximately half of the mile-long road and expects to finish the entire thoroughfare by the middle of October.