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Villagers hosed downduring road protest

Thursday, January 11, 2018
New Grant residents throw banana trees into a fire during their protest yesterday. Photo by:RISHI RAGOONATH


New Grant protesters clashed with the police on Wednesday and several villagers hosed down during a fiery protest over bad roads.

Hours after the violent confrontation, defiant protesters again dragged debris across Sixth Company Circular Road and set it on fire.

The protest, the second in two days, did not result in any arrests or reported injuries. Fed up to the deplorable road conditions, which have already resulted in the destruction of a woman's home, villagers vowed to continue protesting until they get proper infrastructure.

A video on social media showed the villagers and police jostling and shoving each other, while another video showed a man, not in police uniform, wetting the protesters with a hose. Villagers are claiming the police actions were unwarranted.

"(Name called) used a fire hose and wetting down people ..assaulting people, treating people like if they are less. This is for a worthy cause. He does not understand the cause because his back not against the wall. He not feeling it, he not getting up every day to potholes," said 46-year-old Curvin Brown.

Criticising their MP Dr Lovell Francis, Brown said, "This is a message to Dr Lovell, 'You bogus.'"

He said the community has been neglected over the years. "We plan to keep this protest progressive until we get some positive reactions from the head of state and if not the Prime Minister, the people who deal with the development of the community. We don't want any Ministry of Works. We don't want any county. We want the Ministry of Community Development who developing rural areas and roads and box drain to come here give us a contractor, give us people with equipment, we have the manpower and skills and know it how to go forward," Brown said.

Another resident Hayden Grant said a year and a half ago his house "caved away," and the road was paved, but no drainage work was done.

"Water constantly running there and now my house caving away again," he said.

On Monday, the MP Francis said he had already contacted the Ministry of Works and minor repairs were expected to begin the following day. He said the rainy season had caused the condition of the already damaged roads to worsen.

A senior police officer said once a report is made about the incident of assault against the protestors an investigation will be launched.


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