“It has become so embarrassing to see children, people — young and old of various professions — when they are going to school or church, or work, when dem reach the river they have to strip down to their underwear, some naked, in order to swim across the river”
Zepheniah Byfield, long time resident of a small farming community in Castleton, St Mary and their struggles without a bridge to cross the Wag Water River
The residents of Chesterfield, a small farming community in Castleton, St Mary, are still stuck in the 18th Century. This is due to the absence of a bridge to cross the Wag Water River (Matthews, 2015, December 17), they basically have to risk their lives getting to work, school, church, and other places outside their community.
So far, some five (5) people have died over the past eight (8) years (The Jamaica Observer, 2015, December 18), and many other injured crossing the river. It’s also very degrading; many residents, whether going to school or work, literally have to remove their shoes and some of their clothes to cross the river.
Pechoo, a resident of Chesterfield, confirmed that people have been killed whenever the river is in spate, quote: “The last man that died was a 50-year-old farmer who was washed away as he attempted to leave the area”.
So why is this community experiencing this problem in the 21st Century?
Chesterfield in Castleton, St Mary – 15 Years of Lobbying and still no bridge
The residents have been lobbying the Government of Jamaica to build a Bailey Bridge or better structure for the past fifteen (15) years.
Other communities are experiencing this problem as well along with the embarrassment of having to strip naked to cross a river. People have even lost their jobs due to the lack of easy access over the river to quote Lenford ‘Judge’ Davis, a longtime resident of Chesterfield: “Many persons have lost their jobs because of this problem”.
And it’s not just bridges; roads and other vital infrastructure is missing, such as roads, reliable water supply and electricity.
So what have politicians done?
Chesterfield Forgotten by Politicians – Political Representation for the People Needed
These communities are forgotten by political representatives.
Many do not live in the communities they serve (The Jamaica Observer, 2015, December 18), otherwise they’d have fixed these problems a long time ago. The instead make promises every five (5) years in time for General Elections.
They’d have a better chance if they opted to get the help of the Private Sector via a Crowdfunding Campaign (Deer, 2015, August 30) to have a bridge installed and the rods repaired.
So will anyone fix the roads and bridge over Wag Water in Chesterfield, Castleton, St Mary? Or do we have to await another General Election for this to be addressed?
- Deer, L. (2015, August 30). How Jamaicans can use Crowdfunding for their Projects in 30 Days. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/jamaicans-crowdfunding/
- Matthews, K. (2015, December 17). DISGRACE! Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/DISGRACE-_45959
- The Jamaica Observer. (2015, December 18). The abject shame of Chesterfield, St Mary. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/The-abject-shame-of-Chesterfield–St-Mary_46156