Sweet River, Westmoreland – The sight of a police service vehicle along the Sweet River road to Amity (one of the troubled Ferris to Savanna-la-Mar detoured routes) on Wednesday, December 5 was quite unfamiliar but truly welcomed. It brought with it a temporary sigh of relief for some commuters.
This is because calls for increased police presence along that detoured route have been ongoing. These calls have grown even louder, since the Paradise Bridge between #SweetRiver and #Paradise, #Westmoreland (Main road from Kingston to Negril) was deemed unsafe by National Works Agency and officially closed to vehicular traffic on November 5th.
Four weeks have now elapsed but there aren’t any encouraging signs, for the frustrated commuters.
First and foremost, there isn’t any official timeline given for work to commence on the dangerous bridge, despite mounting pressure being placed on commuters.
Secondly, the Sweet River road is still partially blocked with fallen tree and debris, used by demonstrators and other unscrupulous people.
Thirdly, despite calls for regular patrols of the Sweet River road, for reasons unknown to most, police presence continued to be woefully inadequate.
It therefore came as little surprise, that there were those who had the opportunity and were willing to take advantage of the situation. As a result, there were a number of confirmed and unconfirmed cases of hold-ups, leading to robbery in that area, over the said period of time.
That lonely road also has a long history of being a haven for hoodlums.
Not surprisingly, the route has since been declared unsafe by many, including the relevant authorities. However, it remains the shortest alternate route to many commuters, and it’s expected that they will continue using it, until the Paradise Bridge is repaired or replaced, or a temporary one is put in place.
The other detoured route (Ferris, Water Works, Dump to Savannalamar) is almost four to five times the distance, thus considered unfeasible.
Moving forward, the relevant authorities may also need to consider policing the Sweet River to Amity road as vital. This is especially against the background that, the Christmas holiday is fast approaching. Coincidentally, this is also a time when criminal activities tend to spike and it would be unwise for commuters to believe, that this area will be an exception.
Keith R. Wedderburn J.P.
Bluefields Organic Fruit Farm, Vegetable, Herbs & Tours
Westmoreland, Jamaica W.I.