JAMAICA – Roadblocks interrupt first day of school
KINGSTON — Public transport operators, joined by vocal residents, Monday blocked main roads in the parish to protest against the poor state of the thoroughfare.
The roadblocks, specially timed to coincide with the opening of the new school year, severely affected a number of students who were forced to walk to school, while others opted to stay home. Several other people were unable to get their business done because of the roadbocks.
Among the schools heavily impacted was the Fair Prospect High School which sent the small number of students in attendance home early. They were, however, luckier than dozens of others from Rural Hill, Manchioneal and Hector’s River who had to stay home.
Manchioneal All-Age had four teachers and students present. Happy Grove High, Seaside Primary, Fair Prospect High and Titchfield High were also affected by low attendance from teachers and students.
Downed trees, old furniture, appliances and garbage used to block some of the roads were cleared by early afternoon as the police kept a close watch to ensure the safety of workers carrying out the job. By that time, however, schools were already begun to send staff and students home.
One Rural Hill resident said she was not in agreement with the blocking of the road Monday, but acknowledged that they have been in a poor condition.
“I don’t believe that they should do it the first school morning. This isn’t worth it. The road is bad from here to St Thomas so they should get placard and demonstrate, but not block the roads on the first school morning; it is too early,” she said.
Monday, bus driver Jermaine Scott said he wanted Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield to spend some of his constituency fund to fix the road. He confirmed that he and a group met with the MP last Friday and he promised that some roadwork should start by Thursday this week.
However, the transport operators skill went ahead and blocked the roads to protest, saying they have been waiting long enough.
“When I go home in the evenings I can’t even sleep because all the bed [seems to be] ‘rocking with me’ [after using the bad roads]. The road is very bad and it need to fix. They make too many promises and the road need to fix. In some places only one lane can be used,” said Scott, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues.