Friday, January 19, 2018

Second day of fiery protest at Penal Rock Road

HUNDREDS of residents of Penal Rock Road, Moruga, burned tyres and debris during the second day of protest yesterday, demanding a regular pipe-borne water supply and improved roads.

From 5 a.m. residents blocked Penal Rock Road at the 14-mile mark at two points, causing a grid lock of traffic for several hours along the main thoroughfare between Moruga and Penal.

Spokesperson for the residents, Lystra Guevarro, 30, said the protest was fuelled by the skyrocketing of taxi fare to enter the community, which is plagued by landslips and potholed roads.

Guevarro said the taxi fare increased from two dollars to five dollars, and some taxis even charge $30.

She said, "A friend of mine paid $30 from Penal to enter Penal Rock Road where we live at Santa Maria. That is very hard for an individual to pay."

She said most of the residents did not have pipe-borne water, and depended on water trucks to service the area.

"We pay $200 for a tank of water. If the trucks do not pass, we have to look for a pond or a spring, or depend on rain to fall," said Guevarro.

"We should not be living like this in these modern times," she said.

Guevarro said the residents' appeals for better living conditions and infrastructure seemed to be falling on deaf ears, and Member of Parliament Clifton De Coteau and local government councillor Phillip Gonsalves appear unable to help.

De Coteau told the Express yesterday he sympathised with the residents and had sent several previous correspondences to the Ministry of Works to have work done on the roads in the area.

"It is unfortunate that the people have reached to this point to protest, but I sympathise with them because that area had been neglected for some 30 years," said De Coteau.

The Moruga/ Tableland MP said there were "piles of material" at the Ministry of Works sub-office in the area, but yet the roads are in a deplorable condition.

"I understand the pains of the community. The constituency of Moruga/Tableland has the most deplorable roads," said De Coteau, "but the residents also have to understand that if they continue to block the roads, the trucks cannot come into the area to do the necessary work".

He said he was not angry with the protesters since they have showed tremendous patience with the authorities in addressing their complaints.