A senior official of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and caretaker for the St. Andrew Southwest constituency, Sylvester Quarless, is calling for an inventory to be conducted to ascertain the state of the nation’s roads, following the caving in of a portion of road in the Lower Capital Birchgrove area last week Wednesday.
In making the call during Monday’s weekly NDC press conference, Quarless noted that the collapse of the road, which serves as one of the connections to the capital city of St. George from the Town of Grenville, has created a major disruption in the lives of some Birchgrove residents and the normal flow of traffic along the Lower Capitol Main Road.
Motorists have been directed to divert through the Upper Capitol, St. James and La Digue byroads.
Prior to the collapse of the road, repair to the foundation of the road was taking place under the supervision of someone who is known to be skilled in woodwork and not civil engineering.
The person has been described by residents in Birchgrove as an activist for one of the four elected Members of Parliament for the ruling New National Party (NNP) government in St. Andrew’s.
THE NEW TODAY understands that work to strengthen the foundation of the road began approximately three weeks ago.
Despite the poor road condition, small vehicles were still allowed to use the road, but after last week Wednesday’s incident, the road has been closed off posing significant inconveniences to residents in the area and the motoring public.
The Police Inspector in Charge of the Eastern Division, Raymond Matthew has encouraged motorist to use the alternative routes to travel to their destinations.
Speaking to reporters at the press conference, Quarless expressed the view that before any attempt was made to repair the road “it was incumbent on the government to do a survey to determine the extent of the damages to the culvert in the Lower Capital area and at the same time prepare the alternative route in a manner that can make it more accessible for people to move from point A to point B and back in a very efficient manner.”
According to Quarless, some of the “infrastructure (in the area) are more than 80, 90 years old.”
He contended that “if the engineers from the Ministry of Works did a thorough job, they would (have) understood what happened to that crossover in the Lower Capitol area (before attempting to fix it).”
“This is not the first time something like this has happened in the area,” the ex-government minister said, pointing out that “two other bridges in the area have collapsed within the last five years.”
“There is a lack of leadership (on the part of government as) “we have four MPs in St Andrew’s and not one has come out to empathise with the motoring public, the residents, farmers in particular, who now have difficulty in accessing lands in the affected areas”, Quarless said.
The four NNP MP’s in the “big parish are: Social Development Minister, Delma Thomas (St. Andrew North-west), Youth & Sports Minister, Roland Bhola (St. Andrew North-east), Agriculture Minister, Yolande Bain-Horsford (St. Andrew South-west), and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Emmalin Pierre (St. Andrew South-east).