Minister Ferguson Visits Better Hope/La Bonne Intention Communities

14th February, 2019

Residents of communities lying within the Better Hope/La Bonne Intention (LBI) Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) are bitterly complaining about the state of affairs in their communities. They say the NDC which has the responsibility to maintain the infrastructure and drainage within the communities is failing miserably.

Complaints range from the deplorable state of a highly trafficked bridge, several decrepit roads, poorly maintained drains, play fields and the lack of electricity in some areas; a situation which the NDC has the means and resources to remedy.

The residents invited Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson to a community meeting on the evening of Thursday, February 7, to voice their concerns about the level of inaction and dormancy at the NDC.

Upon investigation of the matter, the Minister learnt that the members of the NDC elected to represent the main opposition party, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPPC) have continuously blocked developmental projects put forward for action. The PPP/C has a 12-seat majority in the NDC.

“I had the opportunity of engaging the residents of the Vryheid’s Lust area last evening and the numerous complaints received with respect to their roads, their drains, deplorable bridges and no proper street lights and all manner of things,” Minister Ferguson said.

“People have reported of living in one particular street for 17 years and nothing was ever done. The roads are being upkept by the community members coming together using builder’s waste to plug those huge craters in the road,” she added.

The Minster has committed to seeing how best the Ministry can help the community by identifying the most critical areas in the community to address their needs.

She noted that her site visit to the area has given her a better sense of the nature of the problem and she will invite her team to do an assessment of the areas in need and estimate the cost of relief. If the cost is feasible in relation to the available budgetary allocations the Ministry has, then the Ministry itself will be able to facilitate the repairs.

Yulita Moore, APNU-AFC Representative for Better Hope South, Constituency 4 lamented the inaction of the NDC.

“…one of the major issues is that the NDC is refusing to repair [the bridge] and to repair the entrance of the road that is damaged. A businessman has offered to help us repair the bridge and they have denied him, the chairman and the overseer,” she said. “And so, we brought the minister here today to have a first-hand look at what we’re going through in the area and we know that the NDC will deny it but it is factual and we have proof.”

Trevor McArthur, councillor representing Vryheid’s Lust – South told the Department of Public Information that it is his belief that the members of the NDC are ‘playing politics’ instead of focusing on the needs of the people who have elected them to serve.

“From time to time you find that we work in accordance with the concerns and the issues that the residents have and when we put forward those proposals all the time you find that they would vote against it because they have the majority. We’re calling on the Chairman and members of the NDC to let us work towards bringing all the issues we can address and put it in the right perspective don’t let us play politics,” McArthur said.

While there is an efficient garbage collection programme, the residents are calling for the rehabilitation of the bridges, proper maintenance of drains, proper management of, and the fencing and maintenance of playfields.

“You have to beg, you have to argue, you have to row, that shouldn’t be because there’s a constitution which we operate by and they most times ignore that constitution and do what they feel….they have the opportunity and the funds to do those works but  because of politics they’re simply ignoring the concerns of the residents,” McArthur further added.

Minister Annette Ferguson hosts an ‘Open Day’ for members of the public at her office in Wright’s Lane, Kingston, every Wednesday between 9:30 AM and 12 PM, allowing members of the public to raise several issues regarding their communities.

Nateshia Isaacs.DPI