From as early as 7 am, scores of protestors braved the inclement weather to protest bad roads in the Robert Village, Tableland area yesterday. Villagers led by Shamma Maharaj gathered along the Naparima Mayaro main road chanting “Fix the Roads Now”. However, a heavy police presence and the rainy conditions prevented protestors from actually blocking the roads.
Maharaj told Newsday it is time the Government look into this matter of fixing the roads from Princes Town to Mayaro and building the highway. “Before considering the highway to Toco, the Government should consider the highway to Mayaro,” Maharaj said, adding that the roads have not been properly fixed for the past 35 years and it is affecting businesses as a lot of finance goes into the repairing and replacing of vehicles. She noted that the distance from Mayaro to San Fernando is 48 km while from Mayaro to Princes Town is 38 km. She said this is the energy corridor and the artery of the oil industry. This is why, she says, the Government should consider building the highway as a priority at this point.
“There has been minimal attention given to this major road where thousands of people are affected on a daily basis as many have to journey from Mayaro to Port-of-Spain and Point Fortin for work and have to spend up to five hours on the roads.” “The people of this are have been suffering for decades from neglect,” she said, outlining that heavy vehicles and equipment travel to and from Guayaguayare and Point Gaelota daily causing greater damage to the roads.
The poor road condition, she said causes motorists and business-owners to spend more for vehicular maintenance and this can lead to a reduction of productivity. She noted the bad roads affects the tourism industry and is causing a decline in small and medium size businesses. She noted that the tourism industry for Mayaro has been badly affected as the Manzanilla Mayaro Road is in a terrible condition and local tourism has dwindled in recent years. Rio Claro boasts of the largest water park in the country, Harry’s Water Park, located on the Tabaquite Road. She said business to the recreation site is affected as the roads to it are in a deplorable condition.
Maharaj said these main roads are in need of major upgrades and should be a priority project for the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure for the approaching months and new year. According to Maharaj, “We the citizens have the right to drive on good roads and not be paying through our nose to maintain our vehicle. The government needs to give us all the money we paid in tax for parts and repairs of our vehicle,” Maharaj said.