Stuck ambulance prompts protest

Fed-up res­i­dent of rur­al Bon Air Road com­mu­ni­ty, near Tamana, off San­gre Grande, vent­ed their anger over col­laps­ing roads by block­ing roads and burn­ing de­bris.

The ac­tion was trig­gered af­ter an am­bu­lance trans­port­ing a pa­tient got hitched on a land­slide ear­li­er this week.

Yes­ter­day, school chil­dren and work­ers were un­able to get to their des­ti­na­tions as the main ac­cess road was blocked off. The road link the Guaico Tamana Road to Cu­mu­to Main Road.

Res­i­dents said they have been fed up of promis­es and felt ne­glect­ed af­ter nu­mer­ous com­plaints were made to the Min­is­ters Ro­han Sinanan and Robert Le Hunte, who had vis­it­ed the dis­trict and promised to bring re­lief.

Shiv­an Sal­ick, a res­i­dent of 47 years, said he wit­nessed the in­ci­dent in­volv­ing the am­bu­lance on Tues­day af­ter the ve­hi­cle stuck near a land­slide. He said af­ter sev­er­al at­tempts by the dri­ver failed, res­i­dents as­sist­ed in re­mov­ing the am­bu­lance which had to take a longer jour­ney to get to the hos­pi­tal. The res­i­dents com­plained that the pa­tient could have died be­cause of the time it took to get to San­gre Grande Hos­pi­tal.

School chil­dren were at risk be­cause of treach­er­ous land­slide and not­ed that many ve­hi­cles had skid­ded off the road in the past, luck­i­ly there were no se­ri­ous in­juries, said Sal­ick.

Sean Williams, a taxi dri­ver, told Guardian Me­dia every week he had to re­pair his ve­hi­cle due to the di­lap­i­dat­ed con­di­tion of the road­way. A maxi taxi dri­ver said, “We just fed up. This is not about pol­i­tics but about peo­ple lives.”

Res­i­dent Rasheed Khan pre­sent­ed sev­er­al let­ters which were sent to the Min­istry of Works, Sinanan and Hunte seek­ing help.

“The peo­ple are suf­fer­ing and ap­par­ent­ly no one cares about us,” he said.

Nir­mal Singh, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cil­lor for the area, said he came to lend sup­port to the plight of the res­i­dents as he too was tired of com­plain­ing and had no oth­er op­tion but to join the pro­tes­tors to raise aware­ness.

Res­i­dents said they in­tend to con­tin­ue their protest if they get no help from the Min­is­ter of Works.

In re­sponse, Sinanan said works at one of the ma­jor land­slides along Bon Air Road will com­mence in two weeks.

He said when he toured the area in Jan­u­ary he promised help but it took a lit­tle longer as a fea­si­ble study had to be done on the soil type, which is prone to ero­sion, and wa­ter-log­ging of the soil caused by rup­tured wa­ter lines.

WASA in­tends to re­move the pipelines away from the road­way to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age.

Sinanan said one of the land­slides was re­paired by two pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments and the prob­lem was not ad­dressed.

- by Ralph Banwarie

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