LINSTEAD: Mount Diablo residents take matters into their own hands

Tired of waiting for politicians to show up, residents recently decided to unite and commence an ambitious road repair programme in their community of Old Mount Diablo, located in the Treadways area of Linstead, St Catherine.

To fill the numerous potholes, they collected sand from a nearby river, and purchased cement with funds either donated or raised during bingo parties.

A number of residents – young, old and in-between – contributed labour in repairing the roadway, cooking the meals, transporting the materials and volunteers, removing shrubs from the roadsides, and clearing the drainage system.

Treasurer of the Old Mount Diablo Community Group, Shallamar Grant-Hannigan, said her young cousin Kerone Plunkett recently proposed the road repair initiative to her. She and her husband Oniel bought into the idea.

The rest is history.

Grant-Hannigan stated that, although a section of the roadway is already repaired, more material is needed to complete the project.

More fundraising activities are being planned; more donations are welcomed from people at home and abroad.

“We intend to fix the rest of the road, but we have to continue accumulate funds for that… We are not going to stop until we are finished repairing it,” Grant-Hannigan added.

“The unity that this project has created among the members of this community, I am loving it. Everybody is very dedicated; they are all working together for a common cause.”

Grant-Hannigan told The Beacon that, when the road repair is completed, Old Mount Diablo residents will shift attention towards improving their water supply system.

“We need to have water more frequently,” she said, adding that the community is in need of development.

“The youths have nowhere to play common football; they have to play on the road. So, our community needs help; it needs development,” Grant-Hannigan said.

She further declared that residents have no intention to continue their prolonged wait for intervention from their Member of Parliament Robert Pickersgill and Councillor Sydney Rose.

“I have always said, if you have given up on yourself, you have given other people the green-light to give up on you,” Grant-Hannigan noted.

She, in the meantime, stated that, although Old Mount Diablo has a population of approximately 400 people, the community-based organization has about 50 registered members.

Grant-Hannigan explained that attempts are being made to increase membership, adding that the lack of a proper venue for meetings has been a deterrence for some people.

She currently hosts the meetings at her businessplace; meetings were previously held under a streetlight in the community square.

“The community group has always been struggling, but we still never gave up on it. It doesn’t matter how many people left, we still stuck to the plan,” Grant-Hannigan told The Beacon.

She also expressed hopes that the tremendous effort exerted by her community will inspire other communities across the island.

Another native of Old Mount Diablo, Latisha Reid-Armstrong, though living abroad, said she is proud of the community’s proactive push.

“We can achieve anything without politics and big promises,” she further declared.

“If you love your community, working together will move you forward.”


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