Thu | Oct 6, 2022

Road repairs on horizon, NWA advises as Hamilton Mountain demonstrates

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 12:08 AMCarl Gilchrist and Gareth Davis/Gleaner Writers
The blocked Eden Park bridge in St Mary Western, where Hamilton Mountain residents protested the poor condition of the roads in the area yesterday.
The blocked Eden Park bridge in St Mary Western, where Hamilton Mountain residents protested the poor condition of the roads in the area yesterday.
Cars parked near the protest action yesterday as the blocked roads forced many commuters to find an alternative route, abandon their journey or continue along the blockaded road by foot.
Cars parked near the protest action yesterday as the blocked roads forced many commuters to find an alternative route, abandon their journey or continue along the blockaded road by foot.
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National Works Agency CEO E.G. Hunter has disclosed that the project to rehabilitate the Oracabessa to Free Hill road is being tendered as frustration boiled over in western St Mary yesterday morning.

Angry taxi operators and residents of Hamilton Mountain, just outside Oracabessa, in the parish blocked the Eden Park bridge from as early as 4 a.m. Monday morning to protest poor road conditions.

The protest left scores of persons stranded, some having to resort to a much longer alternative route via Free Hill.

But while not disclosing the estimated cost of the planned roadworks, as he noted the tender process was not yet complete, Hunter said that it should be awarded by the first week of June.

Yesterday, a female Hamilton Mountain resident, who gave her name only as ‘Bluesy’, said that the residents felt neglected by their political representatives, Oracabessa Division Councillor Sheldon Kidd and St Mary Western Member of Parliament Robert Montague.

“When the councillor want vote, him come find wi, and him nuh come from morning come address we. Mr Sheldon Kidd and Mr Bobby Montague – I heard that he was here Saturday but now is the time that I want him,” she said.

“We a nuh waste people. We want road,” she said.

“Big disrespect”

Bluesy said that Montague had sent word saying that he would meet with them as soon as the roadblock was cleared but described the message as a “big disrespect”.

In a message sent to The Gleaner, Montague apologised to persons who were inconvenienced by the protest, adding that he was always available to deal with the concerns of the citizens.

“The road bad. Mi nah deny that. ... The road is actually out to tender,” he said, noting that he did not believe the protest was politically motivated.

“Me is the first to admit the road bad. That’s not the issue – just like how other roads in the constituency are bad, that road is bad. From Hamilton Mountain up to Comma, about three miles, it bad, man. ... Mi drive pon eh an eh bad! Ah nuh it alone bad.”

While noting that the residents had a right to protest, he appealed to them to not inconvenience others.

“They have a legitimate grouse, and I will never deny that, and I am the first to admit that, but people going to hospital and children going to school also have legitimate business that they want to go about. So, protest! Mi nah stop you from protest, but do not inconvenience others. It’s not a political issue; the road bad.”

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