Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley has put residents of Dark Hole, St Joseph on notice that it may be some time before full vehicular access is restored to that area.
Residents of the rural community have been worried that they could be virtually stuck, after the main road leading towards St Sylvan’s collapsed last Saturday.
Many said they were fearful that the collapsed road would compound an already woeful public transport problem, which has long plagued the community.
Speaking to the media this morning at the launch site of a $5 million road rehabilitation project at Flagstaff, Wildey, St Michael bankrolled by CAF Development Bank of Latin America, Lashley said that based on preliminary reports from engineers, the Dark Hole crevice would be there for a long time.
“My technical team is currently working on a solution and I know that we have already signed on an agreement with CDB [Caribbean Development Bank] for road projects in those areas and also a bridge improvement project. We have not turned a blind eye to what is going on in Dark Hole but it would take some time. It is not an easy fix because that is a Scotland District area,” Lashley said.
However, the minister also sought to assure residents that they had not been forgotten and that his ministry was working to find the solution.
“I am not an engineer but speaking to my technical team and based on the information I am getting we are going to have to approach it very carefully, but of course I want to assure the residents that we will find a solution for them,” he reiterated.
Following the cave in on Saturday, Member of Parliament for the constituency Dale Marshall accused the ruling Democratic Labour Party of abandoning the Scotland District “and therefore we continue to be living in a state of peril”.
However, this morning Lashley strenuously denied the charge, arguing that his ministry had maintained a presence in St Joseph long before the collapse.
“Let me say this clearly. We are not neglecting the people of Dark Hole area. My technical team is on the job and are constantly doing work in that area. So this incident would really mean that we have to beef up our programmes in those areas. I am not worried about the things anyone else has to say because of elections, I am just doing my job. We have been doing work in all of the constituencies,” Lashley argued.