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Dec 16, 2013

Sugar roads are impassable

The condition of the sugar roads is affecting not only cane-farmers, but commuters in general. After a week of alternate cold and dry spells, the rains returned with a vengeance, wreaking havoc on critical roads in the sugar network. On the Petville road, just outside Orange Walk Town, the deterioration is such that only tractors and very high four wheel drive vehicles are even attempting to pass. The situation is dire, and commuters say it has been made worse by the heavy traffic from the nearby Fruta Bomba papaya plantation. Mike Rudon headed north today and has the story from wet, muddy Petville.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This network of roads just outside Orange Walk Town has gotten so bad that even farmers on bicycles have trouble passing through the deep mud. It’s hard to imagine it, but this road is actually a major artery through which residents access their farms and businesses. The frustration level is high, and just like the heavy rains, shows no signs of abating.

 

Ricardo Escaraga, Farmer

Ricardo Escaraga

“This is not a political situation. What you see here is about our daily bread. Road is bad Mike, it is bad. Everywhere in the country roads are bad, but this right here it’s extreme. We haven’t been able to visit our farm for the past three weeks now. And as we speak, the road is getting worse and worse.”

 

These commuters say that a big part of the problem lies in the heavy traffic from Fruta Bomba. They say that because of the roads, only Fruta Bomba tractors can maneuver it, and that has made it much worse. Zain Hassan owns Sealand Harvesters and Developers Ltd. On Saturday his trucks loaded with material got stuck, and he had to rely on bulldozers and backhoes to get them out.

 

Zain Hassan, Sealand Harvesters & Developers Limited

“The real source of the problem—yes the papaya people are running the road and I had a lotta difficulty with them and their situation. But I understand their situation because they have a perishable product. So what it seems like here is that the government lack of insight or to be on top of things because they have a law that says you can’t log in the rainy season, but I guess nobody was aware that the papaya has to run through the rainy season and so there was no preparedness for that. Right now I believe I was telling them from all along that they should tell the government to put a crew with them because they are working with several areas at the same time because they moved from Corozal area and came here. And there is nobody. So when you wait till the road is in this deplorable condition, then everything just magnifies. But then if they were working with it—like my little stretch that I was taking care of right here—you know we could still pass. But if they just leave everything till it reach like this now and then they blame the rain; dah just vision. The government is not in touch with the needs of the people.”

 

Ricardo Escaraga

“I think one of the biggest factors is definitely the Fruta Bomba Company, the company that owns the papaya farms. They use their heavy machinery right under the rain. Right under the rain, their big tractors, their big ten-wheelers use the road and they are the ones that are making this road impassable. My dad has been using this road to go to his farms for the past fifteen years and it has never been in this condition. We have had hurricanes pass through here and I have never seen it this bad, Mike.”

 

These men, and many others who depend on use of the road, need help, and they need it urgently.

 

Ricardo Escaraga

“I think the first thing that we need to do Mike is that we need to get some attention for this area from the proper authorities. It’s bad and a whole lot of people are being affected. And I really hope that as soon as the weather permits, some kind of alleviation can be done here.”

 

Zain Hassan

“My business back here has like twenty something years and I have never seen something like this. But like I said, most of it is because of the heavy traffic during the rain and these roads weren’t designed for that kinda load. So nobody was paying attention. They are seeing the export; government is benefitting from the export of the papaya, but they are not in touch to see the needs of the people. And it goes through all the industries. They just collect; they don’t want to find out the problem.”

 

Zain Hassan

Reporter

“And basically this brings your business to a standstill right now because you say you lucky yo get out wah load Saturday but…”

 

Zain Hassan

“Yes, but today we can’t even get in cement and my truck right there is there with the quarter load of rock that remains and I can’t get anymore. So I’m at a standstill.”

 

Cane-farmers also make much use of the road when the crop is on, but that’s not possible at this time. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

As we said, those commuters we spoke to place a large part of the blame on the shoulders of Fruta Bomba and the vehicles they use to get out their papayas. We were unable to get to their office because of the condition of the roads.   

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Sugar roads are impassable”

  1. Beano for Deano says:

    When AliBaBarrow gets back, and if he is happy, he will wave a wand and poof!! the roads will be good, everyone will make much money come July. Even the lowest corruption officer will see their salary double. The gangs will join the BDF, swelling its ranks making the nation safe.

    All will be good when Ali gets back and the 40 thieves are united in purpose to settle scores and embolden corruption officers to get the last drop.

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