Some members of the Bendals Community Group and residents of the community held an hour-long protest, from 6 to 7 a.m., this morning, Friday, March 17.
The protest was prompted by the continuing deterioration of the local roads and the persistently poor operating conditions at the quarries located in the community.
According to community activist Linley Winter, there are more than 179 holes in the main road into Bendals – from where the concrete road meets the asphalt surface in Bathlodge to the St. Luke’s Anglican Church.
The area in which most of these potholes are concentrated is close to the entrance of the government quarry, where more than 20 of such holes are evident, Winter says.
The aggrieved residents have gone as far as measuring the potholes; and in some parts of the main road, they report, there are cavities ranging from about 1.5 to 2 feet in width and up to 3 to 4 inches in depth.
To reduce the negative impact of driving through these craters, persons have placed stones in some of the larger ones, Winter says. But a few vehicles already have been damaged as a result of unwittingly falling into them.
The state of the community roads has caused great resentment among residents on account of the Bendals Valley having the largest concentration of quarries – five – from which materials are taken to fix the roads in other constituencies.
Meanwhile, the people are complaining, once again, about the conditions created by vehicles traveling along the dusty roads.
Many homes along the main road in Bathlodge, and families who live within a quarter mile of the government quarry and Antigua Masonry Products, are grossly impacted by the dust particles, Winter says.
Accordingly, he says, “they cannot enjoy good ventilation inside their homes, as windows are often kept closed to limit the amount of dust getting inside.”
He complains that the quarries are operating without modern and efficient dust-suppression systems. And yet, he says, no government agency appears to be interested in monitoring their operations to ensure that keep dust-generation is kept at a tolerable level.
“The people of Bendals and Bathlodge are therefore caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,” a frustrated Winter declares.
To make matters worse, he says, there appears to be no interest by the Ministry of Works – or the constituency representative –to engage the people and address their very legitimate concerns.
The Facebook page of an affected resident shows him, masked from the dust and carrying placards that read: “Better quarry operating standard are needed” and “Quarry dust still bother us.”
“We’re fed up of the second-hand treatment. We’re fed up of buying shocks every Xmas. We’re fed up of the neglect,” the Facebook page exclaims.
“Molwyn Joseph what is your plan for the people of Bendals, Bathlodge and its neighboring communities? How long must our people suffer?” it asks.