Rich Man, Poor Man.... A Tale of Two Roads!
by Wendy Auxillou
May 27, 2002
Upon the invitation of Ms. Carmita Magana, I drove down the the West Side of the island where she resides, to view the street area in front of her home. It rained all night, and the street is flooded and muddy. A big, disgraceful, dirty, muddy mess! Plus, there is a dump site at the end of the road. It harbors flies! On hot days, the stench emanating from the dump site is unbearable! It is an area ripe for diseases. So says Ms. Carmita, the Josephs, and the Jimenezes - and all the neighbors!
The neighbors on this street number in the dozens. The condition of the road affects them all. There are the Josephs (about 80 strong), the Jimenez' (5 people) and the Maganas (5 people). All these people must travel down this disgusting road to get to the village from their homes.
The tale of the road is stranger still:
Before Hurricane Keith, there was a lovely little canal that ended with a lovely little lagoon and the end of the road where the Maganas' live. The Maganas', the Jimenezs and the Josephs used the canal and the lagoon to dock their boats. They loved their lagoon, and so did tourists. The tourists would come by in the evenings to watch the sunset lagoonside.
After Hurricane Keith, many things changed. The property across from the Josephs got filled in. The property on the other road down from the Josephs got filled in. But the Joseph / Jimenez / Magana road was not. It was cleared after Hurricane Keith, we were told by the neighbors, and the debris from the street was pushed into the once lovely and clean lagoon. According to Ms. Magana and Ms. Jimenez, Chairman Fermin Marin and the Hon. Patty Arceo promised to either remove the debris or cover it with sand, but as of today, two years later, nothing has been done.
The pile of rotting debris in the once clean lagoon remains up until today, creating unbearable stench for the neighbors on hot days. The road remains impassable on rainy days. Jason Joseph, who lives down the road, says that his grandmother, Ms. Petty, cannot even go to church on rainy days, as the mud ruins every pair of her shoes on the way out. The Joseph / Magana / Jimenez children must also walk through this muck and grime, and very often the muck causes the little children to slip and fall in the dirty and possibly contaminated water.
There have been numerous complaints to the Village Council Chairman and the Hon. Patty Arceo, say Ms. Carmita and Ms. Yoli, but to date, two years later, nothing has been done. The road remains filthy after every rain storm storm and their once beautiful canal remains littered with debris. Their complaints have fallen on deaf years. For two years!
Still, they point to another road down the way, newly created after the same Hurricane Keith which shows clearly the injustices that these people face. This road is nicely graded, excellent to walk or ride your golf cart on, and is lovely in all respects. There is only one problem, however, and it is that there is only one residence on this street. Only one couple lives down this road. It is also a dead-end road, created, they believe, to service the business interests of the couple that live at the end of the road.
Burning questions come to mind: Why is it that the Village Council has seen fit to grade a Class A road into an area where there is only one residence, that caters to only two people and a business, while a street where close to a hundred people live remains filthy, shoddy and untouched? Why hasn't the debris in this neighborhood been cleared? Is it that the Village Council does not care about its people? One cannot help but notice the glaring disparities between the "status" of the residents of both these roads. Could it be that the hurricane "donation" the residents of the graded road gave to the Village Chairman was used to purchase the influence to create this road at the expense of the other road?
Whatever the reasons, a neighborhood road trafficked daily by young children, families and elderly grandmothers remains in its forgotten and decaying state even today. And the state does not even notice. Forgotten folks! On a forgotten road! The people are too poor to pay for the "influence" to have it re-done.
Rich man.... poor man! A sad tale of two roads!