Heavy-duty trucks continue to damage Port Kaituma roads
Residents of the Region One (Barima-Waini) mining community of Port Kaituma, particularly the One Mile area, are calling on the relevant authorities to heed their pleas and urgently repair the roads in the community. However, Regional Chairman Brentol Ashley said they are aware of the state of the road.
Resident Clifton Gonsalves told Guyana Times that he has been living in Port Kaituma for 60 years and indicated that the current state of the roads is the worst he has ever seen it. He explained the roads are rapidly deteriorating owing to the heavy-duty trucks that traverse them to get into the “backdam” for mining purposes.
“All we are getting is promises. There are no actions taken. The road is punishing us. We don’t have a pitch road and all we hear is that the contractors are coming in and when we do get a contractor, they do substandard work and after a few days, the road is the same again,” he related.
He added that the last time the road was fixed was over two years ago and when it rains, everything becomes “slushy”. The resident added that potholes serve as swimming holes for some of the children in the area.
Gonsalves said buses and taxi are refusing to go into the community and as a result, students and housewives are severely affected. He added that students would suffer the most since they would have to walk to get to school and when they get there, they are most often covered in mud.
“There is about 2.5 miles and it takes about six hours to get through it (with a truck) and the hurtful part is that you have to pay a toll of $12,000 and before you get on to the main (road) your truck break and you have to pay more than $200,000 to fix it,” he related.
“Every time you leave Port Kaituma you have to pay the toll and getting the toll is not an easy task but if they repair the road we don’t mind paying the toll,” he added.
When contacted, Regional Chairman Brentol Ashley said the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) is aware of the situation in the One Mile area and they would have instructed Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Chairman, Margaret Lambert, to utilise parts of the subvention to carry out emergency remedial works.
Ashley said several road networks in the region need emergency repairs and they have to work with “whatever little resources” are available. However, he indicated that steps would be taken to remedy the situation at Port Kaituma when the weather becomes favourable. In the 2017 National Budget, a sum of $18 million was budgeted for road repairs and maintenance at Barabina Hill, (DBST Road), Bunbury Road, Kumaka District Hospital Road, Manawarin Road, Mabaruma Airstrip, and Moruca Road; all in Region One. However, no monies were budgeted for the Port Kaituma road in the 2017 National Budget.
In March of this year, Junior Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson said six lots in the Port Kaituma and Mabaruma areas would benefit from upgrades.