Living in fear
It seemed like a replay of the Arch Cot tragedy all over again yesterday when a recently laid road at Stepney Bottom, South
Concerned residents, who have memories of the Arch Cot disaster etched in their minds, are calling on officials of the Ministry of Transport and Works to dispatch an engineer or a geologist to carry out tests in the area to determine the stability of the subsoil.
When a team from Barbados TODAY visited the district today, at least two residents who live in close proximity to the gaping hole complained that this was another example of trained technocrats not listening to the “home grown wisdom” of persons who have lived in areas for extended periods.
Bryan Best, who said he has been living in the district for the past 35 years, recalled that when the road was being constructed the elders of the area told work men that large boulders should have been used as a foundation to solidify the area.
“I have been living in the district for about 35 years and there was a dump just above where the road collapsed. The older people of the district told me that there caves in the area to the east of the former dump,” he said.
“The road was built about three feet over the dump but the area to the west of the road is solid rock . When the construction was completed a hairline fracture appeared in the surface of the road. Since we had torrential rain over the past two days the water seemed to have seeped under the surface and the road caved in.
“I do not panic about anything like this because I tell myself [that] things were going to happen, but I know that is very serious. I believe that Government should visit the area and carry out tests. Technocrats [should] listen to people who have lived in the areas for extended periods. They were told that when they were constructing the road to place boulders to build a solid foundation and they refused to follow the advice. As you see the water seeped under the road and it just collapsed,” Best added.
Meanwhile, Bryan’s aunt, Maureen Best, who lives a mere ten to twelve feet away from the gaping hole, said she does not want to relocate since her mother bought the land several years ago and gave her a parcel of land.
Best is, however, concerned that since the road collapsed so close to her home, a cave may be running under her house.
While noting that several people live in the house, the concerned mother said: “I have been living in the district for about 45 years. I used to live near to where I currently live and then my mother bought this piece of land and she gave all of the children a lot. This road was built in 2006. I am concerned that my house may be sitting on top of a cave. All of these years I was living here I was never afraid, but I must admit that I am now concerned.”
She agreed that officials from the Ministry of Transport should visit the area and run geological tests.
Neither parliamentary representative for the area Dwight Sutherland nor Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley could be reached for a comment.