A PROTEST on Tuesday morning in Harris Village, South Oropouche, turned heated with a UNC councillor and a WASA policeman exchanging angry words at each other.
Avocat/San Francique North councillor Doodnath Mayrhoo led a protest over dilapidated road conditions which he blamed on WASA.
Newsday understands the protest was scheduled to take place along the main road where a WASA crew was doing work.
As Doodnath and residents started off-loading tyres from a van which they used to block the road as part of the protest, the WASA policeman intervened, moving the tyres from the roadway. This led to a heated argument between the two men. The confrontation was recorded by some of the protesters who uploaded them to social media. In one of the social media video clips, the policeman was heard cautioning Mayhroo, “You can’t light no fire.”
Mayhroo responded, “I is councillor Mayhroo, boy, and me eh fraid yuh.”
The policeman said, “I never say to fraid me. I just telling you that you have to have a permit to light a fire and you have no permit.”
Mayhroo countered, “When they were protesting in Laventille, did they have a permit? When they were protesting in Beetham, did they have a permit?”
The argument led to the protest being staged about a mile away from where the WASA crew was working. Tyres were later seen burning across the road while protesters chanted and held up placards.
Mayhroo said residents were happy WASA was laying new water lines in the community but they are upset at the condition the roads were left in after the pipe-laying.
WASA, in a press release on Tuesday afternoon, said the permanent road restoration work along the South Oropouche Main Road in Avocat is scheduled to be completed on Thursday.
The restoration works were expected to be completed over the last weekend, but was delayed due to heavy showers as well as challenges in completing the customer connections which required excavation work.
WASA said it has engaged in "very clear and open communication" with the local government representative for the area as well as affected residents, on the challenges experienced during the project, the progress of the project and the authority’s commitment to complete the project as a priority.
Therefore, these road restoration works mark the end of this high-priority project for installation of approximately 420 meters of eight-inch diameter PVC pipeline along the South Oropouche Main Road, the release said.
WASA described the protests on Tuesday as "unfortunate" since it has successfully completed all pipeline installation and the final two transfer of service connections were done on Tuesday.
The release said over 220 meters of roadway have already been permanently restored, with the remaining area scheduled to be completed by Thursday.
The new pipeline replaces undersized, leak-prone five-inch diameter pipeline which required frequent repairs, resulting in numerous disruptions to commuters along the highly traversed roadway and interruptions to residents’ water supply.