Residents building wall to prevent crocodile attacks
Following a crocodile attack on a resident in New Haven, St Andrew, a retaining wall is being constructed along a section of the Duhaney River beside the community's standpipe to prevent a reoccurrence.
The initiative is the brainchild of Michelle Thomas, People's National Party candidate for the Duhaney Park division in the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, along with residents who worked assiduously yesterday, which was Labour Day, to construct the wall. Thomas said she first learned about the standpipe and its hazards about a year ago during a walkthrough of the area. She, however, stated that she hastened to rectify the situation after reading about the recent attack in this newspaper.
"They were saying that the close proximity of it [the standpipe] to the gully was a hazard, so I took note of it. But because I am not yet in the seat, I put it as a priority action to do. However, when the resident was bitten by a crocodile, I realised it was a serious issue for action so I told myself this should be the Labour Day project," she said.
On April 27, Richard was using the standpipe when a crocodile crawled out of the gully and attempted to drag him away from the pipe. Fortunately, he escaped with minor injuries to his left leg. According to Thomas, the construction of a retaining wall is just the start, as the gully is in a deplorable state and is urgently in need of a cleaning.
"I want when people use this standpipe there is no risk being posed by a crocodile coming over to bite or pull them in. I got a lot of donations and so on and some of the materials I purchased from my own pocket but all of this is worth it. I am hoping that this project will ease the fear of the residents. We are also hoping that NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) will visit the community and remove the crocodile from the river," she said.
Andy Hasphaul was among the dozens of New Haven residents who took part in the Labour Day project. He said he is breathing huge sighs of relief.
"We are happy that the wall is being carried up so if a reptile should come again, it cannot harm any human or animals on the other side. We don't want a repeat of what happened. This standpipe has been here for over 50 years and it has been in this condition from ever since. All that happen is that dem use to come and chop out the bushes," he said, adding that they put in a catchment area and a shower area "so people can have little privacy and nah bathe and look out fi crocs".