Residents of Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara are continuing to decry the condition of their roads and are calling on the relevant authorities to `stop neglecting their community’.
Residents of the large housing scheme on the outskirts of the capital have long complained about the neglect of their roads beginning under the PPP/C government.
Stabroek News visited several roads in the community on Friday that were littered with potholes of varying sizes and depth. Some of the holes covered the entire middle of the road, which forced commuters to drive along the shoulders, while other holes stretched along the entire width of some of the roads.
“We are absolutely fed up with these conditions of these roads. Year after year after year you hoping that you will wake up one day and your dream of a proper road will come through but every day you wake up is to the same nightmare. And that’s exactly how it feels having to drive on these roads, like you’re in a nightmare. Just look at the size of those holes, when you can’t avoid them and you have to go through them you does feel your whole car sinking in to one side,” a resident of 14th Avenue, Richard (only name given) related to this newspaper.
He further explained that he has had to replace various car parts including tyres and shocks over the last two years, which has set him back by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“People buy vehicles because they are thinking about their future. They make the investment and set themselves back financially because it pays off in the end. But when you have infrastructure like this, purchasing a vehicle is counterproductive because you end up having to spend way more than you catered for,” another resident pointed out.
Residents also explained that oftentimes it is difficult for them to find taxis or buses willing to traverse their streets. They related that drivers would refuse to travel to certain streets.
“They refuse sometimes but you can’t get vex because you understand. You literally hear your shocks and other parts crying when you drive into those holes and it’s not like you can take an alternative path to get to your home because all the roads are bad. If you drive through any of these streets and you don’t drive in a pothole then you’re lucky,” Richard said.
The residents said they are of the opinion that the authorities have forgotten about their existence since the condition of the road shows “gross neglect.”
“Everybody like this Diamond and Grove area and they love to talk about it. About how developed the two communities are but everyone seems to forget the condition of these roads and how long they have been like this,” one resident said.
Chairman of the Golden Grove/Diamond Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Bharrat Narine acknowledged the condition of the roads on Friday and disclosed that they will be addressing some of the roads in their current work plan.
Narine said that they have used the monies they have received as a subvention from central government to purchase asphalt and crusher run to patch some of the holes.
“We are in no capacity to do over the roads. The most we can do is patching and draining. Last year we did some of the roads and this year we took all the money we got from (the) subvention to turn into materials,” he said.
Narine pointed out that they have decided to do the work themselves and explained that they would be able to get more roads done themselves with the amount of money as compared to if they would’ve hired a contractor.
“We are going for value for money and we bought the materials and we will do as much patching as we could. We have big holes in 19th Avenue and we have 14th Avenue that’s also filled with holes. We did 7th Avenue early last year but we had to do it back,” he said, while pointing out that they will also be doing patch work to the end of the streets that connect to the main road.
While emphasising that the NDC does not have the capacity to do comprehensive work on the roads and is limited to quick fixes, Narine said that they have reached out to both the Ministry of Communities and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure many times over the last two years but were only given “promises”.
He said that residents have also put together petitions and letters, all of which were submitted to the ministries, but have not received any responses.
“We have been reaching out and the Ministry of Communities has not done a single road in this area since 2015. The Region (Four council) this year has done two roads because they would do two projects in every community but nothing else has been done,” Narine said, while emphasising that the NDC is doing all it can to assist the residents and to remedy the situation.
However, he noted, that there’s only so much they can do with their current resources.