Nearly two years after their main road collapsed and with water shortages now part of their daily lives, residents of White Hill, St Andrew believe they have been abandoned by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and the Ministry of Transport and Works.
The district has become infamous for “no road, no water”, remarked resident Carlitha Andrews. Not only have their taps been consistently dry throughout the drought, but the main road in the district has been condemned and deserted since 2014.
Residents have resorted to travelling via tracks in the ravine to make their way to and from their homes.
“The road break down, the minister abandon the road and everybody abandon we. That’s how we feel right now,” Andrews asserted.
Heavy rains in November 2014 caused extensive land slippage, rendering the main road impassable.
So far, efforts by Government to repair the damage have been unsuccessful, as sections of a temporary roadway again collapsed.
Andrews told Barbados TODAY that with few transportation options, residents were being forced to endure a lengthy uphill trek to their homes. In addition, she said, they were being hurt economically.
“People don’t come up in here anymore. The people up in here ain’t getting no work; they have tradesmen up in here who don’t get no work because the people say they ain’t coming all around,” she lamented.
It was in early June that Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley promised that Government had not abandoned the residents of White Hill, even though it had yet to come up with a “doable and sustainable” solution to their road crisis.
However, the people of the district are seeing things differently, with Andrews claiming they had heard nothing about the road or the water outrages that plague the community.
“Nobody don’t come and tell you, ‘well this is what we are going to do, this is the stage we are at’. Nothing,” she said.
The difficult road condition notwithstanding, Andrews said it was the least of her worries as she had been without water for the past four days.
This, she said, had forced her to take drastic measures to maintain a degree on sanitation.
“Now you got to go back and dig up the outside toilet because you ain’t got no water to flush the inside one. You gone to the old time days in here. That is how water authority got we.” Andrews contended.
Noting that it took a protest action by residents of St Joseph for there to be change, Andrews wondered if the residents of White Hill needed to follow suit.
Despite the BWA’s announcement that there would be a detailed water tank schedule to serve affected areas, Andrews said the water trucks did not visit her community.
“I want them to stop saying that they are sending a tanker to White Hill and none don’t come. They called up the number of the tank, I want them to ask the driver where part he does go because certainly he don’t come to White Hill because I does be home every day,” she insisted, stressing that the trucks stopped in Hillaby, St Andrew to where White Hill residents walked to fill buckets of water.
Consequently, she welcomed Tropical Storm Matthew on Wednesday because they were able to harvest rain water.
“I thank God for the little rain the other day because right now the little rain we get Wednesday is the water we’re using in the house. People all in the rain bathing because we glad to see a little water.”
Another resident, Margaret Hill, said since the road became impassable, her daughter and grandchildren had decided to move out of the area.
With the only accessibility to the other side through a track, she often ventured through the slopes, sustaining injuries in the process.
“It is ridiculous,” Hill told Barbados TODAY, adding, “the fellas does got to come and make little tracks when the rain does fall, you sliding all between here”.