Ferry residents happy for highway work
Despite receiving low wages and working in rough conditions, the residents of Ferry say they are grateful for the employment opportunities that the development of the Mandela Highway has brought to them.
"It good fi di community because the youth dem can get some jobs. The work good fi di community 'cause it help nuff youth, like me, 'cause mi have four children and a it a gwaan save wi," Dane Karr told THE STAR.
By working on the highway, he said that he is able to send his four children to school.
However, he is upset that although he is working as a mason on the highway, he is only receiving wages that should be paid to those employed as labourers.
"We do all a di work, and yuh find say most a di day, yuh a do all a di tradesman work. Yah weld, yah measure, yah level, and when it complete fi di day, yuh a get a small salary of $1,800 fi di day," he argues.
And despite being a part of a group of workers who protested the conditions that they were working under recently, he said that they have no choice but to return to work because it is better than not earning anything at all.
"No better nuh deh yah, so yuh just haffi gwaan dweet. A we cut down the tree and do everything, but wi nuh get nuh glory. A just hard work and no benefit," Karr told THE STAR.
While the construction of the highway has brought life to the community, the residents said that things have not always been peachy.
"Mi get damage and no form of compensation. Is a system weh yuh haffi just work wid it. It is not no bed-of-rose system, but yuh just haffi give God Thanks fi di likkle dollar weh yuh can get, cause nobody nah give yuh nutten," Brian, another resident, said.
Making $2,500 per day, he said that by the time he buys breakfast and lunch, most of the money that he earns is almost finished.
And with the workers required to have steel-toe shoes before they can work on the site, he said that it is an added burden on their pockets.
"A bout $18,000 fi dem (shoes), and once yuh buy dat, it set yuh back fi a month," he explained.