White Hill residents road and water woes worsening
The road and water crises facing the people of White Hill, St Andrew appear to be worsening by the day, with residents fearing that, with the onset of the rainy season, the worse is yet to come.
The residents have likened their situation to a life in hell, a sentiment echoed by Member of Parliament for the area George Payne in the House of Assembly in May, when he addressed living conditions in the community.
Those living in the area have long complained about chronic water shortages, and their situation was made worse in November 2014 when heavy rain caused extensive land slippage, rendering the main road impassable, before it was condemned a month later.
So far, efforts by Government to repair the damage have been unsuccessful, as sections of a temporary roadway built a year later collapsed following more heavy rains.
When Barbados TODAY visited Tuesday there was clear evidence that the road had deteriorated further since a previous visit about two months ago. Nothing epitomized the dangers like the sight of a house on the verge of falling over the edge.
Just last month Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley gave the assurance that Government had not abandoned the community, even though it had yet to come up with a “doable and sustainable” solution to the road crisis.
However, angry and frustrated residents told Barbados TODAY their reality was different, and they felt both Government and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) had indeed abandoned them.
They said they were being forced to live like the Flintstones – the stone aged family featured in the American television cartoon of the 1960s – using pit toilets to dispose of their waste because of a scarcity of water.
“Weekends are worse. There is no water on weekends at all and therefore we have difficulty in washing our clothes,” said an annoyed Carlitha Andrews, who disclosed that her family members were limited to one bath a day as water flowed through the taps for only a few hours, every two to three days.
The BWA has placed a water tank in the Hillaby district, but the residents said its location rendered it virtually useless since the road condition had made getting to it the equivalent of walking a defective stairway to hell.
They have tried to help themselves by placing blocks, which they use as steps to assist them with crossing, but it is fraught with danger, they said.
To prove the point, another resident, Margaret Gill, showed Barbados TODAY swollen knees, which she said she sustained when she fell while walking along the damaged road.
Another resident also suffered a “nasty” fall and had to take a week off from work as a result, Barbados TODAY was told.
In response to these concerns BWA Corporate Communication Specialist Joy-Ann Haigh told Barbados TODAY the water system had been improved – though not 100 per cent – and water outages should have been minimal in White Hill.
However, Haigh promised that the water company would “now make the necessary provisions for a community water tank to be located in the White Hill community where residents can easily access it”.
While this is expected to alleviate the water crisis, the road remains a major cause of irritation and fury, highlighted by the difficulty experienced in obtaining basic necessities.
“The gas truck used to come up here but he said he isn’t coming anymore because the gas will roll about in the back,” Andrews said.
She complained that the village shop did not have many of the items they needed because the delivery truck drivers either refused to deliver goods or charged excessive sums because “they have to come a longer way”.
Andrews said the situation was dire and action was needed now to bring relief to the suffering residents.
“Let us know if you are going to move us or if you are going to fix the road,” she pleaded.