New Market residents demand better roads

February 21, 2017
A section of the road leading to New Market, in the vicinity of the Happy Grove Primary School.
Teacher at Happy Grove Primary, Bryan Allen, speaking about the roadway outside the school.
Jermaine Richie laments the state of the road in the community.

The deplorable conditions of roads in the New Market division, located in the constituency of North West St Elizabeth, has become a cause of concern for residents who say the matter needs to be addressed immediately.

Recently, residents blocked the main road for several days in protest.

Our news team gathered that the New Market main road connects Middle Quarters to New Market to MoBay, and even the Darliston area of Westmoreland.

Residents and frequent users said the bad roads are affecting their health and their pockets.

Kevon 'Ahzid' Smalling said, "The road can't take no more patch, a fix it afi fix. No main road nuh fi tan so. A brake and gas yuh afi a use. Air condition run this ya road ya, because you can't drive fast fi get no breeze."

Smalling said there are roads in some sections of the community, like Britton, that are in better conditions than the main road.

"The best piece of road on New Market main road is about 25 seconds. There is no pedestrian crossing at none of the school gate dem. A potholes a dem pedestrian crossing," he said.

THE STAR spoke with a teacher at Happy Grove Primary School, Bryan Allen, who said he has been at the school for 21 years.

"The road is in a deplorable condition. It is time for this road to be fixed. We can't take anymore. In September, I spent $52,000 on the front end of my car and now I am not able to drive it to school, because if the examiner stops me, I know they gonna confiscate my vehicle."

Attendance at school had also been affected.

"Most of the taxi men don't want to drive on the road because it's too bad. The condition of the road has contributed to a decline in population at the school," he said.

THE STAR was told that the member of parliament (MP), J.C. Hutchinson, has not come forward in recent times to meet the people and address the situation at hand.

Smalling said, "[it is] 45 minutes comfortable driving to MoBay if the road fix. To drive way round so to go MoBay, a joke thing."

Jermaine Richie, a farmer, said, "Some people nah go talk because guess wah, dem nuh have a vehicle so dem nah go talk. When we drop ina the potholes, mi feel it ina mi back and ina mi pocket."

He continued, "Mi farm Springvale, New Market and Clifton, multiple places, so mi affi drive out. Springvale is a farming road, dung deh so a one of the most progressive places weh farming concerned and we don't have a road, we have a track. The main road fi turn off to each and every major community, we need it."

Several calls to the cell phones of both the councillor for the New Market division, Richard Soloman, and MP Hutchinson, went unanswered.

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