Last update: 08-Dec-2013 9:05 pm
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Rough life in Grande region
A sparkling sun was reflected in dozens of pools of water surrounded by thick vegetation on side streets and main roads between Valencia and Fishing Pond. Unfortunately for residents, these shallow pools aren’t for swimming but are located in the middle of roads.
“The roads here are poor. Even on the road to the river, the main road that everyone uses, they are real bad. To think there are quarries in the area and nobody would say let’s fix the road,” said Mariba Letren, as he stood near his Clarence Street, Valencia, home during a visit by the T&T Guardian.
Valencia, along with seven other districts, Sangre Grande North West, Sangre Grande North East, Sangre Grande South, Cumuto/Tamana, Manzanilla, Toco/Fishing Pond and Vega de Oropouche, falls under the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation.
“The garbage was a thing they used to collect on time, but I don’t know what happening now. It’s like they come when they want and dogs have a field day with the rubbish,” Letren added, pointing to a few dogs sniffing around a small pile of garbage overflowing from a blue garbage bin a few feet away. He said he had lived in Sangre Grande for four years and had not seen much development in the area.
“There are a lot of young people around here and they wouldn’t even build a community centre for the youths to play sports,” he said. On the Valencia Main Road, however, grocery store owner Allison Hyacinth said the only issue she had was customers coming into her store “bareback.” “I don’t really have time to pay attention to this election stuff and the community so far has been good...I will vote though and I will be voting for change,” she said.
She said her vote would be based on national issues and that she would vote for any other party but the United National Congress (UNC). “The councillor here never did anything for this community,” said a 53-year-old Sangre Grande resident. “They don’t visit and they don’t follow up on anything. I voted for the UNC last time but not again.” Sitting on a chair at the front of her house, the resident said she was thinking about giving her vote to the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
“I feel we should give Jack (Warner) a chance. Something about him looks genuine to me.” Living just off the Toco Main Road, 57-year-old Marilyn Thomas has several issues, however. She said councillors never came around to her village of Six Miles, Toco. “There are stretches on the main road with no streetlights and we have never gotten water here. I talked to councillors and when I finally went to WASA they said it would not make sense bringing pipe-borne water to the area because there aren’t enough residents,” she said.
Thomas and her family rely on rainfall and the purchase of bottled water for their daily needs. “I don’t even know if there is a representative for the area because I look at some of these houses and these families in the area who clearly need help and nobody ever comes.” Asked if she would be voting in the upcoming local government elections, she said she was not sure.
Surrounded by rows of plantain trees, Kelvin Campo sat on a hammock in his Mura Allotment, Vega de Oropouche, home. A miniature red People’s National Movement (PNM) flag was stuck in a crevice of his front wall. Mura Allotment is a farming community. Paw paw, fig, plantains and a variety of fruit trees line narrow bumpy roads, while cows and bulls graze near trees. Vega de Oropouche was added to the corporation in 2010.
“I am putting back the PNM. I took a chance with the yellow and I will not take a chance with the green,” was all Campo said. Roads were also an issue at Non Pariel Road, Fishing Pond. To get to his home in that community, Rasheed Mohammed has to pay a taxi $20 from Sangre Grande, a distance of about five miles. “It is because of how bad the roads are, they don’t like to go inside,” Mohammed complained.
“They have done nothing. I don’t know if they think we are too out of the way to need help, but they (regional corporation) don’t do anything.” It was the same issue in North Manzanilla, where water frequently runs off the side of badly patched roads into yards and homes. Near the police post on North Manzanilla Branch Trace grass is overgrown and water pools at the side of the road as a result. “We need box drains here,” said Janelle Beekley.
“We need box drains and people to come and take care of the roads and cut the grass and spray for mosquitoes. We need everything because nothing has been done.” Beekley, who identified herself as a PNM supporter, said a lot of the people on her road had supported the PNM. “Since this UNC councillor won, he has done nothing for us. He ignores the PNM supporters and if he does work, he will stop before he gets to this area,” she complained.
“That is not fair, he was supposed to represent the entire area. A lot of people who live here don’t have jobs and when there are things to be done in the area, they bring people from outside to do it.” “It does not even have a Cepep team here. Since these last elections there has been no work in the area.”
In the last local government elections, in 2010, the United National Congress won six of the eight seats in the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, with the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Congress of the People (COP) winning one each. This was a drastic change from the 2003 elections, where the PNM held all of the then seven seats in the corporation. In both the 1999 and 1996 local government elections, the UNC controlled the corporation.
The Sangre Grande Regional Corporation was created in 1990 and the PNM won all the district seats in 1992. The region was formerly part of the St Andrew/St David County Council.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.