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Over 6000 people employed as part of massive road cleaning initiative

Over 6000 people employed as part of massive road cleaning initiative
Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste (left) with her client Cornelius John, a businessman from Diamond

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A massive road cleaning initiative in the green, yellow and orange zones will see over 6000 people being employed locally.

Residents of the orange hazard zone were recently given the green light to return home in various areas on the western and eastern side of the island.

With this movement comes the cleanup process as the Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) continue to remove ash and debris from the main and arterial roads in these communities.

The entity’s most recent effort includes a 7-day road cleaning programme, which began on Tuesday, May 25.

Ken Bartholomew, BRAGSA’s Chief Executive Officer told SEARCHLIGHT that cleaning of ash build-up will occur in communities as Petit Bordel on the Leeward side of the island and the Rabacca bridge on the Windward side of the island.

He said once all the heavy work is completed at Petit Bordel, they will move their efforts to Chateaubelair.

“Chateau[belair], yes we have heavy equipment carrying heavy stuff now, but it is not sufficiently cleared of ash to say that persons can return and the environment is clean enough, because we are doing phased clean up. We clean up the heavy ash, then we are going and doing flushing and all that…” the CEO outlined.

Bartholomew explained that flushing and the cleaning of public facilities including schools, health centres, and police stations is important as these are some of the facilities that need to be available and accessible once persons begin returning to their homes.

He said BRAGSA is mindful that once people begin cleaning their homes, they would gather ash in the process.

The CEO advises persons to bag the ash to facilitate BRAGSA taking it away.

“We are moving the ash to designated areas which we have identified for storage until we can decide what is the next best use for the ash,” he said.

Bartholomew told SEARCHLIGHT that while BRAGSA will not be cleaning everyone’s homes, assistance can be provided to those who genuinely require it.

These persons include the elderly and the disabled.

“We are not cleaning homes, but we can partner with people that when they go back – this is an unprecedented disaster so we just cannot go and clean every home- but there may be persons who may need assistance because they just can’t and, in those areas, through the government, through the ministry, through Social Development with BRAGSA and so on, we will get help for persons like that,” he said.

Bartholomew said persons can indicate their need for assistance either through NEMO, the Department for Social Development or at BRAGSA.

According to a release from BRAGSA, 412 gangs and 1952 jobbers are responsible for the cutting of trees and cleaning of roads in all 15 constituencies over the next seven days.

The release also said contracts will be given to more than 100 truckers and conductors.

The programme is estimated to cost about EC$3 million.

Communications officer, Rohan Cupid, said work will be done in all zones except the red zone, and emphasis will be placed on the cleaning of the orange zone in anticipation of the return of residents to these communities.

The programme is also expected to focus on the cleaning of the drains ahead of the commencement of the hurricane season in June.