A SMALL group of residents of Vige in Vieux-Fort on Sunday took to the streets to protest the bad conditions of the roads in their community – even as repairs had begun on the roads, which are riddled with crater-like potholes.
Work on the roads commenced a few days ago, after residents indicated via the media that they would take protest action in order to force government to relieve them of their plight which they have endured for decades.
The protestors carried placards bearing messages such as: “No road, no vote,” and “Fix the roads. It’s terrible.”
When this reporter visited the community on Sunday morning, a crew from the Ministry of Infrastructure was busy at work in the area.
The situation is so dire, that recently, residents repaired sections of the roads using their own resources.
Organizer of the march, Al Prince, said he believes that the reason why work on the road commenced days after they made it public that they will take protest action, was just to discourage residents from protesting.
And after this reporter interviewed a number of residents of the area, it was quite clear that it was the reason why many of them did not took part in the march.
“They are fixing the roads now, so let’s wait and see what will happen before we march,” a resident who did not take part in the march told this reporter.
However, according to Prince, despite the quality of work which they had expected to be done to the roads to make residents totally satisfied will not be done, at least for now, they are thankful for the little relieve it will give them.
“I am a bit satisfied with the work that is taking place on the roads now…It’s not what we expected but it’s a help,” Prince said.
He added: “The roads are in a terrible state. It needs to be properly repaired, so we are pleading to the government to assist us …”
Prince said the Vige/Cacoa roads are very important to everyone because whenever there is an accident along the Cannels road, motorists use it. He said during the Christmas Eve trough when the Cannels bridge was completely destroyed, everyone used the Vige/Cacoa roads to get to their destinations.
According to Prince, he was told by a staff in the Ministry of Infrastructure that under the former administration funds were available to repair the roads in the community but no one knows what has happened to the funds.
Ann Francis, another resident said: “It appears that the government does not care about us. They are fixing roads everywhere except in Vige…”
David Fontenelle said: “They (authorities) are treating us like animals. For many years the roads in the community have not been repaired.”
He added that due to the conditions of the roads, persons from other communities always ask them whether they have a district representative.
According to the residents of the community, what further infuriates them is the fact that Vieux-Fort North has always been supporting the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and therefore it should never allowed the roads to get to such a state.
Several weeks ago, protest action by residents of another community in Vieux-Fort North had forced the government to do some repairs to the roads there. The residents protested by blocking the roads with boulders and trees.