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Fiery protests in Moruga (with CNC3 video)
Hundreds of constituents from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s constituency staged protest action yesterday, complaining of deplorable roads, landslips, lack of a water supply and unemployment. From as early as 5 am the residents chopped down trees at the 14-mile mark of the Penal Rock Road, forcing motorists to use alternative routes. The Santa Maria RC School was also shutdown and scores of students were unable to attend classes at the Moruga Composite School.
Resident Wayne Baptiste said over 700 people were affected by the poor road conditions and they decided to take action. “Three houses are on the verge of collapse and in some places the road is impassable,” Baptiste said. He added that garbage trucks no longer pass on the Penal Rock Road.
He said: “The garbage is piling up. There is no water in this area and nobody seems to care. We are pleading with the Government to have pity on us. Our children are suffering. They cannot go to school.” Baptiste said most residents depended on rain for drinking water. Resident Arleen Guevarro said some children had to walk for miles to get to school.
“The bus cannot come in here because of the roads so the children have to walk out to get transport. Ambulances cannot pass here. I remember that I gave birth to my baby in the teak because of the bad roads,” Guevarro said. She added that the roads have not been paved for over 30 years. “It is destroying vehicles and taxi drivers have increased their fares because of the roads. We want help,” she added.
Another resident, Donna Aping, said the posts holding up her house were moving, causing extensive cracks to the structure. “The electrical wires are also leaning but I am afraid to call T&TEC because they may cut off the electricity,” Aping said. She added that life was also miserable for many residents because they could not find jobs.
“I have seven children to take care of and I really want a job,” Aping said. Another resident accused the Government of discriminating against the Santa Maria community. He said road repairs were done on the Prime Minister’s constituency but they were being neglected. “It’s because we vote for the PNM that they suffering us. That is why they took away Cepep from us,” Aping said.
Leader of Government Business, Dr Roodal Moonilal, said it was not feasible to put Cepep gangs in every community. “I am not aware that any area is being discriminated against but the residents can look forward to some kind of remedial work in terms of infrastructure as well as Cepep,” Moonilal said.
By around noon yesterday, the Penal Rock Road was cleared and a team from the Ministry of Works’ Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE) was despatched to begin repairs on the roads.
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