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Residents awaiting word on Gov’t’s plan for Overland river

Residents awaiting word on Gov’t’s plan for Overland river
OVER 60 vehicles were stuck at the Overland River on Christmas Eve (Photos by Rochelle Baptiste)

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Residents of Overland and further north of mainland, St Vincent are hoping that the construction of a bridge across the Overland River is on the government’s agenda in the short term.

Residents awaiting word on Gov’t’s plan for Overland river

Dozens of residents from communities in that part of the island were stranded at the river last Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning, after the heavy flow of water made the roadway impassable.

And, last weekend dozens more were made to wait patiently on both banks of the river which was again in a state of heavy flow.

Spiritual Baptist Archbishop, Melford Pompey, a resident of Overland told SEARCHLIGHT that the issue is one that has resulted from the recent volcanic eruptions.

“It is not that the river is usually that mountain high and people cannot cross but it’s just because of the softness of the soil if you don’t have a four-wheel drive — and even the four-wheel drive vehicles sometimes cannot make it,” he said.

According to Pompey, there is usually no water flowing in the river. But he said there were piles of sand on the riverbed, brought down in the heavy flow of water whenever there are torrential rains.

In the short term, a tractor is usually made available through BRAGSA to help in the clearing of the river bed to allow vehicles to pass, and provide assistance when automobiles get stuck while trying to cross.
But Pompey believes that a bridge is needed in the long term.

The Overland River is located at the beginning of the community and as a direct result, also affects residents beyond the Overland community in Sandy Bay, Owia, Point and Fancy.

Others in agreement include a resident from Sandy Bay who told SEARCHLIGHT that he believes there is need for a bridge across this river in the same way one was erected across the Rabacca Dry River.

He said he believes it would help to make travel in the Northern part of the island safer and easier, given the recent challenges being caused by the Overland River.

Deputy Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel is the parliamentary representative for North Windward and the Minister of Transport and Works.

He told SEARCHLIGHT recently that this is not a new issue as scientists have made it clear that problems like this were likely to continue for some time after the April 2021eruptions.

Daniel said he intended to address several projects during his contribution to the 2022 Budget debate, which will also include the government’s long term plan for the river in Overland.

But the Budget exercise came to a halt on Wednesday afternoon following developments which saw more than half of government MPs testing positive for COVID-19.

Daniel is among this group, having tested positive for the virus on a rapid antigen test on Wednesday morning.

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