From Icacos to San Fernando, ‘drive-by protest’ over bad roads

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo/Marvin Hamilton

On Monday morning, drivers in the southwestern peninsula (SWP) took part in a “drive-by protest” against the deplorable condition of the roads.

Commuters, including schoolchildren, were left stranded as maxi and taxi drivers from the entire area joined forces in the protest from Icacos to San Fernando.

From as early as 3 am, they were joined by residents who blocked certain strategic points of the main road leading to San Fernando with burning debris, causing miles and miles of traffic jam.

Police stopped the taxi convoy along the Guapo stretch, to allow drivers not taking part in the demonstration to pass.

President of the Point Fortin Taxi Drivers Association John David told the Newsday, “It has fire in Vessigny. There is fire inside Sobo Village, fire in Grant’s Trace and fire in Rousillac.

“In addition to that, a seven-seater taxi is stuck in one of the large potholes in Vessigny Village, which is also causing a long line of traffic.”He explained, “Taxi drivers are engaged in a non-violent protest this morning. We are driving slowly, within the speed limit. Ordinary citizens have also joined with us in solidarity, because they are also affected by the bad roads.”

He said taxi drivers agreed to a relay-like protest, undertaking different legs. Drivers from Icacos, Cedros and Chatham, he said, protested on their way to Point Fortin, Point Fortin drivers took on the leg to La Brea, and La Brea drivers protested between Oropouche and San Fernando.

All the drivers are scheduled to meet at the Vessigny Roundabout to plan their next strategy.

David said they had no choice but to protest to send a message to the Prime Minister and Minister of Works ad Transport Rohan Sinanan about the state of the roads they have to travel daily.

He said they had spoken to the MPs for both La Brea and Point Fortin, Stephen Mc Clashie and Kennedy Richards Jr, but the situation remained unchanged.

“Every time we talk to the MPs, they saying their hands tied. Well, we want Rohan Sinanan to untie their hands and fix the roads.

“Everything coming from Point Fortin and La Brea – we have oil, gas, electricity, fish, citrus, Lake Asphalt, Labidco – yet the roads are horrible.”

He appealed to Sinanan to open the completed part of the San Fernando Highway to Point Fortin highway to ease the suffering of the people from the southwestern peninsula.

David said he is not certain whether the protest will continue, depending on the response of government.