Matthew dumped as much as ten inches of rainfall and by this morning the water levels were rising in the west; in some areas as much as ten feet. Bridges and crossings were submerged. But there were some good tidings, in San Ignacio a News Five crew found that the flood waters brought a bounty to the local residents. News Five’s Marion Ali has a report.
Marion Ali, Reporting
The only sign that a bridge stands at this spot is the yellow railing that sits idly atop the water. The embankment was almost double its usual width and a closer look shows persons making much of the flood. While most people would not dare to eat fish sent downstream in flood water, for the residents in San Ignacio, It was a blessing for their table.
Wilmott Neal, San Ignacio resident
“The fish noh got no sickness, ih noh got no sickness because we ketch fish for the people weh come from outside and they want test it and put it eena ice box. We goh upstream and we come downstream, then we send it and deh test it, yoh know?”
John August Jr.
John August Jr., Mayor, San Ignacio Town
“It’s nice to see the people there fishing but it does create some problems also because then they start, the same people that are fishing, dig up the riverbank. They do that to get worms to catch the fish.”
And catch fish they do and according to Wilmott Neal, the floodwaters brought good tidings.
“We ketch tarpon, we got tilapia, we got the tuba, we got the green teeth, we got the black band and we send it outside. I tell you, we got lotta kinda fish. We got the fresh water snook too.”
Further downstream, at the Baking Pot Ferry, the strong currents are preventing business as usual. This does not spell good news for Kennedy Gentle and his family.
Kennedy Gentle Sr., Baking Pot resident
Kennedy Gentle Jr.
“What actually we have here dah wah Christian recreation centre. We noh sell alcohol, we just sell food and drinks, wah place where Christian people can just come, relax and have a nice time. So normally we sell food and soft drink every day. Soh, I di talk bout wah sixty, seventy dollars fi the day. No vehicles pass, noh and when the passersby stop, deh would buy food, deh would buy soft drinks. So once the ferry noh di operate then I noh get no business. So we just come in and try do some work. Clean up the place, do some lee work pan the buildings and soh.”
In between Baking Pot and San Ignacio, the Iguana Creek Bridge was closed and today youths were swimming and frolicking about.
And while people in that rural community like this can afford the laidback lifestyle, the flooding causes a growing municipality like San Ignacio, to deal with a much slower pace to accommodate traffic using the one-way crossing at the Hawkesworth. And a solution to that inconvenience is not in sight soon. According to San Ignacio Town Mayor, John August Junior, plans for a replacement bridge near Branch Mouth is still on the drawing board.
John August Jr.
“We have a chaotic downtown you would say, it creates a lot of chaos because only the Hawkesworth Bridge is open to then and everything then going across and coming over has to come over the Hawkesworth Bridge and it’s a one-lane bridge, so it does create a problem. Tomorrow there’s a consultation with that new bridge here at the San Ignacio Hotel, so I think it is a project in the pipeline and it’s being worked on as we speak. If all goes well I think that bridge, the way it’s looking—if it happens—sometime in 2014 it should be completed.”
Apart from these locations in the west, the only other area that reported flooding were some parts of Monkey River in the Toledo District. Marion Ali for News Five.