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Apr 2, 2014

Ebony Street residents complain of dust on street

Belize City is currently in the midst of unprecedented, major infrastructure works. It’s enough to make any city resident smile…or at least it will be when the street and drainage projects are all completed. For now, it just seems like a mess. Nobody wants to complain much, because as we’ve said, the facelift that the city is getting is unprecedented. But there are still pockets of discontent in areas where residents feel that their cries are being ignored. Take Ebony Street, for example. Residents have tried to be patient, but the dust is killing them and they can’t deal with it any longer. So they’re speaking out. Mike Rudon was on Ebony Street and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

It’s a small, dirt road adjacent to Vernon Street…generally not heavily trafficked at all. But almost overnight Ebony Street has become a main thoroughfare. That’s because Vernon Street is closed for repairs, and small vehicles, trucks and buses have been diverted. It might seem like a small, temporary thing, but for these residents, it is a serious problem.


Wilmore Staine, Ebony Street Resident

Wilmore Staine

“I’ve been trying to be patient for a long time. For the past two weeks the neighborhood has been coming to me but I said I don’t want to interfere in it. But the condition has gotten worse and worse and worse and I think it’s affecting everybody, but nobody wants to speak out. I don’t want to disrespect the Mayor because the Mayor has a lot of work to be done, but the people who are responsible are the ones who supposed to come forward.”


As you can see, the problem is dust…dust which makes the lives of these residents a cloudy, choking, irritating hell. The dust raised by the hundreds of vehicles now using this street gets on everything, and into everything.


Astor Forman

Astor Forman, Seeking Assistance with Dust

“The dust keeps seeping in the house because as you know dust will get in any crack and crevice. I myself have had to keep cleaning every morning no matter how much you clean, dust is coming in.”


Edwin Mendez, Mechanic on Ebony Street

“Mein inside…we can’t even clean up. We have to clean up once a week and when you clean up everything dusty, dusty, dusty…water white by the time yu clean up. Some days we no even wah clean up…we just lef it right so till they do something bout the street ya check. The bed dirty, everything…the TV white inside.”


Wilmore Staine

“All my windows have to be closed. The dust seeps in there. All my electronics…the dust gets in there. Every day I have to go and clean in there…the amount of dust that I clean and put on one side tells you the story of the amount of dust that we have. Those people over there, the elderly people, come to me wanting me to say something. I couldn’t bear it any longer. My brother encouraged me, and that’s the reason why we are talking about it. We are not here to bash the government or to bash the City Council. We just want them to do something which is simple…wet the street.”


And that’s really all Ebony Streets resident want. They are not complaining about the infrastructure works. They aren’t even complaining about the increased traffic from the diversion. All they ask is that whoever is responsible send trucks to wet the street to keep down the dust.


Edwin Mendez

Edwin Mendez

“The dust rough rough, rough right now. I tell you. Yesterday after the evening I couldn’t even breathe. I tell you my throat swell with the dust. But the truck come through but some days the truck come and other days it doesn’t. For a while now it hasn’t come. This morning it came but it ran out of water and went back again.”


Astor Forman

“I am not saying that the Mayor is being slack because I know that he has his plate full. But this is a serious matter. This is a health problem…poor little children walking down the street have to cover their nose. I can feel the dirt in my throat. It is very unjust. And if he’s listening I would like him to please give me a call…have the decency at least to take the time, because he should know exactly who is in charge of watering the street.”


Edwin Mendez

“I really wah see they just wet the street da morning and afternoon mein. It’s rough. I know they’re fixing the street and the thing have to happen right. I down with what the Mayor’s doing but this rough right ya so.”


It’s a simple request, but maybe not as simple as it seems. Astor Forman’s mother is ninety years old and is suffering from bronchitis. This has spurred him to ask for assistance from all quarters. But despite many calls and personal visits, he can’t even find out who is responsible for wetting the street.


Astor Forman

“No one seems to know. Ms. McDonald from City Council says that it is the Ministry of Works. Mr. Moralez from the Ministry of Works said the same thing…that it is the City Council. I spoke to the Chief Engineer Mr. Lennox Bradley and he said it’s the City Council.”


At this point, all Forman and residents of Ebony Street can do is continue to ask for help, and hope that somebody heeds their cries.


Astor Forman

“Mr. Bradley, please drive through this area and see what’s happening. See what is happening. Once you get elected, don’t turn your back on the people. I’m appealing to you, especially for the elderly people that live on this street.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Mike Rudon.

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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