A seemingly retrograde decision by the Lancaster/ Hogstye Village Neighborhood Democratic Council, to fence off a make-shift street that was being used by dozens of children and other residents of an adjacent community, has caused many to wonder why the NDC would want to make their lives miserable.
With nothing more than a gravely narrow strip of the street now remaining, children, elders and other members of the community are forced to use that very tiny strip which is bordered by the NDC fence on one side, and a forty-feet wide waterway on the other side.
For observers, the elderly and children are now at risk of falling into the canal, since the narrow strip of land that remains is not adequate and safe enough to be used as a walkway.
As a result, many of the residents are now at their wit’s end, citing the danger that the narrow walkway is having on their daily lives.
According to elderly resident Ella Marks, the demised of the community walkway started a few weeks ago when she woke up to the noise of construction work, and subsequently discovered that the path to her home had been blocked by a Hymac(excavator) machine, while a fence was being constructed along the horizontal landscape of the said walkway.
Aunty Ella as she is popularly known, told this publication that she was shocked to see that construction of a fence was well underway at the Lancaster/ Hogstye Village Neighborhood Democratic Council N.D.C Office, which borders the corner of a dam which serves as the main entrance to her home and the Main road.
She explained that for years the make-shift street which was actually a dam, had served as the main thoroughfare for residents, since it has saved them from having to walk a great distance via the community’s main egress and ingress point.
However, the elderly woman and other residents were amazed to learn that the construction was done by the NDC without any consultation.
Moreover, an old Hymac was left blocking the remaining strip of land outside of the constructed fence, thus totally hindering residents from using the pathway.
Refusing to be bullied, Aunty Ella after contacting the NDC and the Regional Democratic Council R.D.C on Monday last, decided to organize the residents of her community and protest.
As a result, the Hymac was subsequently removed.
But that did not negate the fact that residents now have to navigate around the fence and a now eroded strip of land which they say is unsafe for the elders and children of the village who have to hold on to the fence to avoid falling into the canal.
Citing the danger that this sort of risky traversing has created, Aunty Ella and residents again met with members of the NDC after the Hymac was removed to discuss the way forward.
At that meeting, residents were promised that the fence would be brought in some three feet to allow easier passage. But they explained that the suggested space still would not be enough, since “no car is three feet wide”.
Frustrated by the ongoing impasse, members of the community later called for a meeting and invited the media to hear their cry for help.
Vice Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council Dennis Deroop who was present at that meeting promised to have the relevant authorities look into the matter.
He expressed dismay at the issue while stating that the NDC had no consultation with the RDC on the matter of construction on the dam.
He is also of the view that the NDC has “no jurisdiction” to build on reserve land.
As a result, Mr. Deroop indicated that he will contact the Lands and Survey Department to have the fence removed since the illegally constructed fence is not only hindering residents, but is also preventing access to the area in the event of a fire or any other emergency.