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Protest over dust and bad roads Blachisseuse residents demand action
Access to Blanchisseuse was cut off yesterday when villagers felled trees, blocking off dozens of quarry trucks and workers to protest bad roads and the constant dust they say was suffocating their tiny community. A few students also were blocked on the first day of the new school term. The frustrated Temple Village residents yesterday chopped down trees to block off ten sections of the Blanchisseuse main road. Their main grouse was the poor roads, which they say are a result of quarry activity in the area. They said when trucks passed, boulders fell on the road, creating potholes and dust from the trucks made village life difficult.
Dust covered goods in shops and clothing hung on lines and roads were constantly muddy, they added. The road, which connects the village to Arima, is riddled with large potholes and constantly covered with dust or mud. Yesterday, dust swirled over and into houses as vehicles drove along the road only to be blocked off by a fallen tree. Residents held placards asking for the roads to be fixed. “Children can’t stand by the road to wait on vehicles because of the dust,” said one female resident. Local government councillor for the area Hyacinth Johnson yesterday told the T&T Guardian she was unaware of the protest but added that the deplorable state of the road was something of which she was aware.
She said she had recently walked in the community with former People’s National Movement senator Pennelope Beckles and spoke to residents about their situation. “The road is very bad. It is covered with potholes and the people who live in the village have a difficult time,” said Johnson. Staff of the Arima Disaster Management Unit were called out with tractors and policemen to clear the road. Trees, which were cut by residents, fell into the roadway pulling down utility wires. A response team from the Arima Borough Corporation took over two hours to clear the roadway and allow the trucks to pass.