After eight years of pleading with the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) to fix the only access road to their community, residents of Castle Rock, Cane Vale, St Thomas have decided to take matters into their own hands and fix the road themselves.
Those living in the area pooled their resources to raise over $10,000 to pave the incomplete stretch of road, which, according to residents, has caused significant damage to their vehicles.
“It is about eight years now that they [MTW] did the road and they only did half and leave it just so. There are all kinds of issues with the road and we have been begging them to come and finish the road but nothing has happened. So we decided that since it is our vehicles that are mashing up, we put our money together and hire C O Williams to do the job,” one resident, who did not want to be identified, told Barbados TODAY at the scene of the road repairs.
Another resident, who also did not wish to be identified, said Reverend Wes Hall, the former West Indies fast bowler who served as a Democratic Labour Party senator, and who suffered over $9,000 in damage to his vehicle, had been pleading with Government to come to their assistance, but to no avail.
“We are not trying to make any Government look bad, we just want the road fix and it is clear that after eight years we can’t wait any longer,” he said.
The road has been the source of contention for a number of years, according to one resident, who said heavy-duty trucks had been using it as a shortcut to get from Canewood Road to Welchman Hall, leaving behind a lot of dust.
She said this prompted residents from another gap to attempt to block the road and the MTW, which was called to mediate in 2015 and sided with those who wanted to limit the through-traffic, had placed a blockade at the exit.
The blockades were removed in 2016 following a town hall meeting, the woman explained.
“If I remember correctly the MTW had done some work in the road before all of the confusion started about four years ago. Coming out of there is very dangerous and the MTW had placed mirrors so that persons could see what was coming around the corner. They had also placed caution signs for persons to reduce their speed. So I can’t say they did nothing because nothing could really have been done in the years that neighbourhood was back and forth over the road access,” she said.
“When the roadblock was removed we thought things would happen but within recent times with the heavy rains and dangerous exiting the residents have really become fed up and they can’t wait on Government and nobody else is going to come to our rescue. So we pool our resources and came and did the road,” she added.
Long-standing parliamentarian, the Barbados Labour Party incumbent Cynthia Forde, applauded the residents for the initiative.
“It is really good to see residents work together in this manner to accomplish something that would be to the benefit of all. Sometimes we have to take the initiative and I want to applaud them for doing it and I also want to hold them up as an example for others to follow,” Forde told Barbados TODAY, which made several attempts to reach Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley for comment, but was unsuccessful up to the time of publication.