With no apparent recourse, no hope and no signs of relief anytime soon from three years of sheer frustration, the people of White Hill, St Andrew took matters into their own hands last weekend and started to build themselves a new road.
It has been nearly three years since heavy rains in November 2014 caused extensive land slippage in the area, damaging the road, and making it impassable. Soon after it was condemned by the authorities, grinding traffic to a halt.
An attempt at a temporary fix shortly before Christmas 2015 ended in failure when cracks began to appear.
Residents have since been making almost daily pleas to Government to help end their virtual isolation, but to no avail. Over the weekend, they decided to try to help themselves.
“We have to fix the roads. No one is helping us so we have to do it ourselves. With all this rain that’s falling now, the road is getting worse, it’s almost impassable altogether. It’s hard for the residents in the area to pass so the guys in the area decided to go and cut out a proper footpath so the residents could traverse the area when the bus doesn’t come and after 7:30 at night when the bus stops running. We tried doing it ourselves because no one is helping us,” perennial spokesman for the residents Carlitha Andrews told Barbados TODAY.
Andrews described the people of her community as disgruntled and frustrated, stressing that they had little, if anything, to look forward to.
And while both Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley have in recent times pledged that Government had not abandoned the rural community, Andrews said the time for talking had long past.
“Anything up in here is like a dead zone. Up in here is dormant. Living up in here isn’t easy. I’m ready to move right now. We can’t take it anymore. No one in here is happy anymore. This is three years now our livelihoods were on hold. I was remodeling my house and I had to stop. I don’t know what they are doing.
We deserve an answer, we need to know what’s going on,” she said.
Even as they appeal for assistance, anything Government does now to bring them relief will be viewed with suspicion, the community spokesman said.
“I was hoping since 2014. My hopes are gone. I’m not hoping for anything. Anything come I know that its election gimmicks. We the people of White Hill have been hoping and we are just frustrated,” she added.
Having had to contend with dangerous land slippage, an impassable road which prevents comfortable access to the area, and unreliable public transportation, the frustrated resident said it was damning that the authorities had allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent that residents no longer know to whom to turn.
“Living down here is very hard. November 22 will be exactly three years that this has been going on. It just shows that no one cares. I’m not just saying it because I can say it. Anybody with a fair conscience would know that they don’t care after all this time. I know people that lost their jobs. I know people that had to stop from going to university because of this situation. Trade men down here had to give up their trade because people are not coming to them.
“When you living somewhere like this you have to have your mental faculty in tact because you would go crazy. Tell me what else is left for us to do,” Andrews vented, adding that people not living there would never truly understand what they were going through.
“For we to say it people won’t understand until they live it. Sometimes when people come up here they cry to see the situation we are living under here in Barbados. They are taxpayers up here [who] cannot bring home their cars, have to leave it the other side and make the trek home,” she added.