Cedar Valley residents demand roads
One week after entertainer Popcaan led a protest through sections of St Thomas to press the claim for better roads, a group of residents from Cedar Valley delivered a petition to their member of parliament, James Robertson, calling on him to do something about the poor road conditions.
Popcaan's protest took place in eastern St Thomas, which has been represented by the People's National Party's Fenton Ferguson since 1993.
Yesterday's protest by residents took place in western St Thomas, which has been represented by the Jamaica Labour Party's Robertson since 2002.
Linton Edwards, a taxi operator, who participated in yesterday's protest, said that he is forced to make constant trips to the mechanic because of the condition of the road between Cedar Valley and Morant Bay.
"We are coming out of business because the road is so bad that each time we run, we have to go to the mechanic, and we are at our limit now," Edwards told THE WEEKEND STAR.
Abigail Marshall, another resident who made the more than 25 miles journey, said that Robertson has been missing in action and the petition, which was delivered to his office yesterday morning, explains the difficulty residents have been facing.
"We have no representation. Our MP is missing in action. What we want most of all is the road infrastructure to be worked on right now because we are inconvenienced," Marshall said. "So we are here in Yallahs to deliver a letter, and we are inviting him to another community meeting, and we want a reply from him by the end of the month."
Robertson, who was not at his office when the group of residents converged on the doorsteps of his constituency office, told THE WEEKEND STAR via telephone that he welcomed the efforts of the residents.
"My office will be open. I run a very good constituency office, and if they are coming all that way, I will make sure they are welcomed, with water, because the drive from Cedar Valley to Yallahs, even though it is in the same constituency, can take up to an hour and a half or more. The road conditions are deplorable, and thank God, they are going to be fixed," Robertson said.
Robertson said that the funds to repair the main road from Morant Bay to Cedar Valley have been secured and he was told that repairs should begin in the first quarter of 2018.
"That is when there will be space in the budget to allow for that funding to be spent. But I will adjoin my name happily to their petition, and it will be passed on to the relevant ministers," Robertson said.
Robertson said that the poor road infrastructure is not the only plight residents of Cedar Valley face.
"I haven't seen the petition, but I would not be surprised if it also speaks to water. In terms of lack of infrastructure, those are the two major cries of the people. They are suffering and they have waited long, like me, patiently for help," Robertson said.