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Angry Seaview Gardens residents tell MP to resign

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Seaview Gardens residents yesterday turned their anger on Member of Parliament Anthony Hylton, accusing him of neglecting the community, and pointedly told him to resign.

Fuming over bad roads, lack of street lights, and heavy foliage in sections of the community, residents, taxi operators, and mini bus operators mounted a road block at the entrance to the community off Spanish Town Road in Kingston.

Hylton, who was in the community, tried to address the residents. However, they said that were tired of talking, held on to him as he tried to enter his motor vehicle and forced him to walk the community with them.

The residents accused Hylton of continuing to take them for granted because the community sits in the St Andrew Western constituency, a safe seat for the Opposition People's National Party.

“Thirty-odd years me live a Seaview and them never come down here come clean the gully or fix the road. The bus them a turn back a round-about and go back so. School pickney late a morning time, people late for work, people a get fire, no vehicle nah come a dah side a di scheme. We want the road to fix, we cannot live so. Big pretty house, no road, it nuh mek sense. The gully, mosquito woulda kill the baby them. Every minute the people them affi a go hospital for their baby. We need road, we need better livity,” Hopie Johnson told the Observer, adding that Hylton should resign.

“Him need to go, him haffi go. Hylton fi go. We no want Hylton,” she said.

A taxi operator, Winston Callum, who plies the Seaview to Half-Way-Tree route, said the poor road conditions and lack of street lights have created conflict among his passengers as they constantly argue about where he should drive.

Callum also complained that potholes are contributing to robberies, as motor vehicle drivers are forced to trek slowly through the community.

He recalled an instance when he helped a mother who had to run onto the main road with her baby who was unable to breathe.

“It wasn't a good sight. Imagine, a baby mother a scream her son nah breathe, him nah breathe and you don't have no road to drive on. Froth a come through him mouth and him nose. I had to do it just to save a life,” Callum said as he walked among the crowd.

Fifty-one-year-old Patrick Hurge, who insisted that Hylton should resign, told the Observer that he has been living in the community since he was eight years old and nothing has changed.

“From him win him never come in here come do nothing. All the other MPs did something. Only when a politics time you see him. Him need to go, we no waah see him. Look on the bush, a bare robbery a gwaan. Early morning time people a go a work dem grab yu bag and gone through the bush,” Hurge said.

Another resident, Almarie Campbell, a medical technician at the University Hospital of the West Indies who was caught in the demonstration, said the community has remained the same for over 15 years.

“When it rains, no public transportation wants to be on the road because they are talking about the wear and tear on their vehicles, and it affects the community. There are several lawyers, doctors, teachers and nurses, persons who service the wider community, that live here. If we don't have the proper infrastructure to move about, how are we going to get to our daily jobs?” Campbell asked, adding that if Hylton had to go for them to get proper representation, then “he needs to go”.

By this time, Hylton had completed the tour and had climbed onto the back of a police vehicle to address the residents who bombarded him with questions.

In his defence, Hylton said “sometimes representation to the responsible agencies is not enough. This is an example of representation by the councillor, by the member of parliament that has not been responded to and the people react”.

He said there had been enough written communication to all the authorities about the conditions but he could not give a timeline when the issues would be addressed.

The residents, who were not satisfied with his explanation, became rowdy.

Hylton, however, told the Observer that the residents had never attended a community meeting.

He countered their claims, saying that the roads have been fixed but were never rehabilitated to the required level and were only patched by the National Works Agency.

Hylton also said that the issue of street lights is a long-standing one with Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation and Jamaica Public Service, and that he has made representation regarding them.