Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill has instructed the immediate rehabilitation of a road in Onderneeming/Sand Pit, on the Essequibo Coast. Minister Edghill met with residents of the community on Sunday, following days of protests over the condition of the road.
Residents of the sand and loam mining community, said heavy-laden trucks are responsible for the deplorable state of the road. They said the road has been bad for some time, becoming almost impassable during the rainy season.
Over the past few days, residents had placed a blockade on the bridge leading into the village, preventing trucks from traversing. They also accused truck drivers of taking advantage of other road users. Addressing residents, Edghill said the government is keen on addressing all concerns of citizens.
“Once people bring things to our attention, we address it. The principle of engagement is that you engage the authority that is supposed to take care of your interest, and if they don’t, you report higher, that’s the rules of engagement,” Minister Edghill told residents.
He noted that it is wrong to block the road. However, immediate steps will now be taken to solve the issue.
“We need to get this community back to normal and we need to get things moving again for tomorrow, so I expect the blockage to be removed this afternoon, tomorrow morning the machines must be able to come in, the trucks must be able to go in,” Minister Edghill said.
Residents later agreed to remove the blockage. It was also agreed that the regional engineers and the truckers will maintain the road as needed, while central government will continue to explore the possibility of a capital project for the road.
“We will do an immediate maintenance, to allow for residents as well for commercial activity to continue, the region will have to monitor what is happening with the road and occasional maintenance to ensure that it is passable, until we could get mobilisation and a contract and the rest of it awarded to get things moving on the road, that’s the only solution that we have going forward.
I’m saying the truckers and the region with my engineers will maintain the road and commercial activity must get back to normal tomorrow,” Minister Edghill said.