Senator Joseph’s temporary bridge over stagnant waterway now under threat of demolition by the DCA

Senator Jonathan Joseph, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. Mary’s North, has come to the rescue of some poorly treated constituents – but has drawn the ire of the Development Control Authority (DCA).  

Today, April 5, Joseph put in place a temporary bridge that spans a stagnant ghaut (pronounced gut) in the Cashew Hill area.  A well-known contractor was engaged to undertake the job, the Senator tells REAL News.

The structure will allow residents to cross the waterway safely, avoiding the slab of wood that is now in use.

Campaign Manager Leon George says that Joseph’s team assessed the site recently and, with the assistance of several youth in the community, were able to put the temporary structure in place.

This morning, concrete was poured to cover the steel work that reinforces the new bridge, and George says that residents will be able to use it safely in a few days.

He says the ghaut is a danger to residents, one of whom – a senior citizen – was injured recently while she was crossing to go to church.

Meanwhile, shortly after the concrete was poured, the Development Control Authority (DCA) contacted Senator Joseph. 

He reports than an official demanded to know by whose permission the UPP Candidate had put down the structure; whether the bridge had any reinforcing materials; and whether it could hold the weight of four pedestrians.

Joseph says he explained that the structure is meant to be a “temporary fix” to a dangerous and unsanitary situation – and he pointed out that what is now in place is a slab of wood laid above the water.  

Further, he told the DCA official that he expects the Ministry of Works will undertake a comprehensive road programme that will incorporate proper bridges to accommodate residents.

However, with the Authority threatening to demolish the just-completed bridge, Joseph says he told the official to “go right ahead and do what you want.”

The official reportedly advised Joseph to contact the Department of the Environment, where he would be advised on plans for that community.  In the interim, however, he has been invited to a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, with the DCA authorities.

According to residents, roads were cut in that community during the UPP’s tenure.  However, no further work has been undertaken since that Administration lost office, and the waterway is now stagnant, choked with overgrown bush and debris.

Meanwhile, George says that work required in other communities of St. Mary’s North will be looked into and addressed shortly.

Last week, the Senator was forced to turn garbage collector.  He made the rounds in the constituency to collect garbage which, in some instances, had been sitting for three weeks, creating a health hazard.