This week, residents of Port Kaituma, Region 1 were asked about the issues affecting them the most and developments they would like to see take place.
Shondel: ‘We have an unreliable water supply. Many people have not been getting water in our community. Another issue is the dogs and cows running onto the airstrip. Sometimes the planes are coming in to land, so they have to raise the plane because of the animals on the airstrip. It is very dangerous. We spoke to the police but they said that they cannot do anything. I don’t know who we should speak to. I heard the Neighbourhood Democratic Council had a meeting recently and the matter came up but nothing has happened since. Garbage collection here is a normal issue. When the tractor don’t work, people would throw it along the road side, near where people are living. They would have a lot of flies and we have people cooking and selling food, it is not healthy. We need these issues to be addressed because it has been happening like this for too long.’
Anthony Melville: ‘We do not receive clear water. Water is the biggest issue we have. We don’t have a steady electricity supply. We have a lot of issues facing our community that need to be addressed. We [have] a lot of social issues here because one, the youths don’t have anything to do after finishing school. Teenage pregnancy is a big issue as well. We need sporting opportunities and other social programmes that would help our youths. If we look at garbage, one truck isn’t able to do the work. We need like two or three trucks because we don’t have a schedule for garbage collection and sometimes the tractor breaks down. One project I would like to see they bring to this community is a technical institute, because our youths don’t have anything to do after school. Some parents cannot afford to send their children out of the community to learn a skill.’
Othmar Hernandez: ‘What is greatly affecting us is the roads and water supply. We need government to look into these things and build our roads so we can get some sort of relief. We use the airstrip because we don’t have roads. When you buy your ration, you have to fetch it through the airstrip because the buses don’t want to go through the roads we are living. We’re always hearing that they will do the roads but nothing is happening. Using this airstrip is dangerous too, because sometimes you don’t hear when the planes are coming in. I feel like they’ve forgotten the people in Citrus Grove, because nothing is being done for the people here.’
Troy Roberts: ‘The issue affecting everyone in our community is the water. Remember now, they provide a well that flows so we can come get water. But it is kind of fatiguing time and time again when you come from places like Fitzburg and One Mile (the far off areas). We need them to stop pumping the river water through the line and let us have real water. We want water from the ground coming through the lines so we won’t have to be buying water. Apart from that, what was troubling was the roads but we have roads now and they are still building up the roads. To address the issue of garbage, I would say it is best if we have another tractor to assist the one we have now. They are trying but it is too much garbage for the one tractor. Also, I would like to see if we can have some street lights to beautify the place and so residents can walk as they like. I will like to see them fogging this community more often too. One thing I would like to see the government bring to Port Kaituma is a technical institute. After school, the youths have nothing else to do and the children them pouring out to go backdam. There is no long-term benefit with that. If they learn a skill, if they move from Port Kaituma they can find a job somewhere else. I want to see we have more hours of electricity and the establishment of a library to create a leisure environment for the children.’
Shevon Robinson: ‘What is affecting us is our roads. Here in Citrus Grove, we need our roads to be repaired. The school children are affected the most because some live far up in the miles. Sometimes they won’t have money to catch transportation and they would have to walk, making them late for school. Some families cannot afford to pay for transportation as well. We used to have a school bus but it is not working now. They should look to have the school bus service return. Garbage collection is also an issue for us. We only have one tractor and that cannot work for this community. They are trying but it is not working for the community.’
Errol Hernandez: ‘I find the state of the road is the biggest issue we face. We have to walk on the airstrip because the roads are not good. It is not safe for us because when we are walking on the airstrip, sometimes we have to move off because a plane would be landing or taking off. It is very dangerous. We need our roads to be fixed so we would not have to use the airstrip. Also, I would like us to have better water supply. It is very hard for us when we don’t have water. We have to depend on the rains’.
Valarie Charles: ‘Getting the buses to go where we live is very hard because of the condition of the road. Also, the minibuses want to charge like $100 to take the children to school. Some families cannot afford it and so the children would have to walk and would reach late to school. We need the roads to be repaired so the children can walk on the road and not on the airstrip, where it is dangerous. We are not receiving water also. We need them to look into that because it is happening regularly.
Margaret Dabydeen: ‘Transportation is very hard to get here because of the condition of the road. Most mornings we would have to walk to work. When the rain falls, the road is difficult to use. Your clothes would get messed up sometimes before you reach to work. A big issue for me is that as a sweeper/cleaner I am being underpaid— I am signing for $60,000 a month but I keep getting less than that. I would like for someone to look into my situation.’