Barrackpore residents burnt tyres and other debris in a fiery protest on Monday morning to demand better roads and a more consistent water supply.
When Newsday went to the scene of the protest at Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore after 10 am, workers from the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) were removing debris from the road.
Police helping the workers told Newsday that the protest started shortly after 5 am, but they dispersed protestors when they arrived a short while after.
Fire officials also responded and put out the blaze.
When contacted for comment, PDRC chairman Dr Allen Sammy said he wasn’t aware residents were planning a protest but he supported their action.
He told Newsday, “As far as I’m aware, and what the people are telling me, is that they are protesting for several things.
“There are issues which have been building up, and outreach to the relevant ministries haven’t borne fruit.
“Some of these issues are the conditions of the road, the regular supply of good water, proper agricultural access roads and security of tenure on their land.”
Sammy claims he has written to several ministries and state agencies on behalf of the residents.
To date, Sammy claims, he has gotten no assurances that the issues within the community would be addressed.
“Those issues faced by the residents are not our issues (the PDRC), they are those of ministries like the Ministry of Works, Ministry of Agriculture and WASA.
“I have been writing and, in fact, I have just done a renewal of four letters to various ministries asking again for a meeting.”
Sammy said he has been trying since January to meet Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan who referred him to the ministry’s chief technical officer.
He said he wrote to the officer last week and is awaiting a response.
“Remember these issues are related to the PDRC, but the issues cannot be separated.
“For example, maintenance of the main roads fall under the Ministry of Works but all the side traces are ours.
“As such, everything is linked and we have done all we can in terms of our power and authority permit…anything beyond that is another ministry or two or three.”
When contacted for comment on Sammy’s claims, Sinanan said his ministry was working on a news release to address the concerns raised by the protesters.
In a news release on Monday, Naparima MP Rodney Charles called on Sinanan to “heed the desperate pleas of Barrackpore residents.”
He said, “In the past five weeks, the Naparima constituency office has received hundreds of complaints from constituents about having no water in their taps for months.
“It is unacceptable that in 2021 citizens, in this pandemic, must go without water for months and are forced to burn tyres and protest for their voices to be heard.”
Charles claims residents in the area have been pooling resources to repair the roads which have been damaging vehicles.