Albion Mountain residents cry for road, water
When Hurricane Matthew veered to the right and shifted from its path to destroy the eastern shore of the island, the residents of Albion Mountain in the hills of St Mary seemed a little bit more thankful than other Jamaicans as they have been without a basic commodity - water - and had no means of accumulating it.
"When mi hear dem pon TV a seh we fi catch up, mi a wonder how we were going to do that. They said they were going to send water, and all now mi nuh see none come," resident, Cecil Riley, said.
Residents of the farming community, which gained national infamy earlier this year when two Canadian missionaries were found dead in the community, told THE STAR that they have been without water since the beginning of the summer.
"Since June this year we nuh have nuh water, and last year, we never have none fi seven months straight," Riley said.
$75,000 water bill
Another resident, Watkiss Collins, told THE STAR that he was still being billed for water even though the pipes at his home have been dry.
"Mi get a bill fi $75,000. It is really hard to be paying for something that you are not using," Collins said.
But when THE STAR contacted the member of parliament for central St Mary, in which Albion Mountain falls, he said that it was not true that the community had been out of water for that long.
"It's not true. I know sections of the community have been without water. I can't speak to three months," Dr Morais Guy said.
"I was having discussions with the National Water Commission (NWC) about it this morning, and there is a particular area where, even when the pressure is high, the water doesn't seem to be getting there."
Guy told THE STAR that the NWC had already identified the problem.
"There are some pipes that, possibly, are blocked and they are going to be putting in pipes in those areas," Guy said.
He said that the NWC had been trucking water to the community.
"What they have been doing, though, is that even though there has not been any water in the main, they have been trucking water to the community. I know that up to yesterday, they were trying to get water into the community, but there is one section of the road that the truck had to travel on which is quite steep, and seemingly, the truck has skidded in that area," Guy explained.
When THE STAR visited the community on Tuesday morning, several residents were walking to a bus stop about two miles away.
"Another problem that we are having, as you can see, is the roads. The taxi dem refuse to drive up here because of the condition of the roads. We talk to the councillor about it four years ago, and them tell mi seh dem did have some money, but it wasn't enough," Riley said.
"Mi and some other residents suggested that him fix what him can fix with the money him have so that the people can see that you are doing something. All now!"
According to Guy, he has made plans to do work on the road but pointed out that it was a parish council road.
"The fact of the matter is that it is not a NWA road. It is a parish council road. However, we have made arrangements to fix 700 metres
with some of the Constituency Development Fund," Guy said.