Wednesday 4th October, 2006

 

Imbert: I’m sick and tired of road protests

 
 
 
 
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A protester throws a wheel into burning debris during the second day of protest in Fyzabad yesterday.

Photo: Rishi Ragoonath

BY RADHICA SOOKRAJ

Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday he was sick and tired of road protests that have become a norm in an effort to effect repairs.

Responding to the two-day fiery protest at Fyzabad which left commuters stranded, Imbert said what was uncanny was that the roads in question did not fall under his jurisdiction.

“I am sick and tired of people taking protest action when it is their Regional Corporations that are not doing their duty.”

Imbert said the Fyzabad Main Road, which falls under his ministry, was in a relatively good shape.

“It is the outlying areas, the side roads that are in a bad state, but they do not fall under the ministry’s jurisdiction,” he said.

Nevertheless, the minister said he was on an aerial tour of the hot spot and that they were currently assessing the situation.

For the second day yesterday, Fyzabad taxi drivers assisted by residents set up fiery barricades throughout the district.

Their action prevented paramedics from transporting a pregnant woman to hospital.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that the woman gave birth in a vehicle.

Under the watchful eyes of officials in the blimp and a helicopter used by members of the Special Anti Crime Unit, demonstrators chopped down trees hurled garbage, old appliances, scrapped cars and other debris into the roadway.

The first blockade was set up outside a gas station at South Oropouche, which had been vandalised.

Worker Anil Muralie said when they arrived around 7 am, they saw the front glass door shattered.

“We have to go back home. We do not know who did this but we think it is a wicked act,” Muralie said.

Another worker Junior Edwards said water barrels had also been stolen from the station compound.

A van belonging to a coconut vendor was also vandalised. The tyres had been burnt and the battery was missing.

“The people cut up the man plug wires. They should not do this. He is a poor coconut vendor,” a woman said.

Police went to a home at Duke Street, where a teenager was beaten by his uncle for blocking the road.

Councillor for Avocat Doodnath Mayhroo said the vandalism could have been committed to weaken their legitimate struggle for better roads and water.

An ambulance was also stopped at Oropouche junction.

Paramedics said they could not go through the barricades. “We have a pregnant woman to take to hospital but we have told her relatives to meet us here,” a paramedic said.

The woman sat in a car screaming in pain before the demonstrators finally cleared the way for her.

Shortly after noon, army officers arrived on the scene and began clearing the roads.

Riot police, Guard and Emergency officers and officers from the Fyzabad, Oropouche and Siparia police stations kept watch over the area.

 

 

 

 

 

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