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Sewerage nightmare: Ghetto residents living among their own faeces

The stomach-churning image of human faeces floating inside this uncovered manhole in the Ghetto/Crabbe Lot area. (BVI News photo)

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

Residents of the Crabbe Lot area known as The Ghetto in Road Town, Tortola are living among raw, untreated human faeces that have washed up from their faulty sewerage network. They are now appealing to local authorities to come to their aid.

BVI News was invited to witness the situation on Thursday and was led to the heart of the community where a manhole was observed spewing toilet paper and bits of untreated human waste on to the streets. A short distance away was an open, abandoned manhole with several more clumps of faeces floating atop a well of untreated sewerage water that was inches from overflowing.

“I vomit three times this morning … raw sh*t and everything we have to deal with,” said a community bar owner and one of the approximate 75 residents who call The Ghetto home.

“That ain’t right. People live here and it got kids living at the back. Imagine, we have to live through that every day. You cannot even breathe good in here.”

The bar owner who only gave her first name – Berna, said the issue is affecting business.

“It got couple bars in the area. It got people who have their businesses and people cannot even cook to make their money.”

Another resident who has lived in The Ghetto for at least 10 years described the issue is a nuisance.

“Sewerage water running all under the house. The toilet dem cannot flush, once you flush the toilet it coming back inside. You cannot use the shower because it backing up. Every week we going through that,” she said.

We have to use public facilities to relieve, clean ourselves

She said she and members of her household have been left with no choice but to visit nearby churches or public restroom facilities whenever they have to relieve themselves or even shower.

This, she said, is something her children have grown uncomfortable with.

“We always have a sewer problem but it used to be passing through the ghut but now all the pressure on this ghut,” the resident said.

Residents told our news centre that numerous calls have been made to government’s Water and Sewerage Department to report the issue.

One sewerage truck 

The department reportedly assured residents that sewerage workers would be deployed to the community. The department, however, said they only had one truck designated for that type of work.

One of the residents who spoke to BVI News said they have no idea what could have caused such a major backup of the filth.

As BVI News departed from The Ghetto, a Water & Sewerage team was seen arriving in the area. Workers explained that the issue may be a result of a blockage of one of the lines and they came to rectify it.

The team confirmed that they only had one sewerage truck to service the entire Tortola.

Water & Sewerage truck pumping sewerage in the area.

Matter not solely a Ghetto issue

City Manager Janice Braithwaite-Edwards told BVI News that she is aware of the sewerage problem. She, however, said it is not an issue isolated to the Ghetto/Crabbe Lot area.

She said the problem may lie with broken sewerage lines affecting the communities in and around the city.

“We just had a problem at Fort Burt about two weeks ago that we just rectified, we just had a problem in Purcell that we just rectified. So it is not indigenous to Crabbe Lot. Crabbe Lot may be feeling it because that community is a very compact community, but we are having sewerage issues throughout the city and we are in the process of changing the pipes. It is something that is on the agenda.”

She said the issues existed prior to the August flood and the September hurricanes, however, it was compounded because of those said weather events.

When BVI News contacted the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works Anthony McMaster he said he was not aware of the situation and directed us to the General Manager at Water & Sewerage.

Efforts to contact the department were futile.

Up to press time, BVI News was unable to confirm whether the issue was fully rectified.

Residents lay thin sheets of wood over untreated sewerage water so they can manoeuvre through their yards and community.

Untreated sewerage flows under this dwelling of The Ghetto.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

32 Comments

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  1. WHAT!? says:

    Yuck!!!

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  2. BEEWEEAYE says:

    And they keep voting for the same man
    try some one else who is younger and cares about peoples lives and welfare

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    • Anonymous says:

      The government is financially broke. Up to its eyeballs in debt. 2-3 billion owed in loans and more being borrowed to keep the worthless government employees paid. This will end very very soon. Just hope the UK bails you out or the entire Yerritory will be floating in feces.

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    • 20-20 says:

      And our Premier said recently after serving as our leader for 16 years and an elected official for most of his adult life “The Vision lives On.”

      Our dump is on fire, s**t is flowing through our streets, the electricity doesn’t work part of the time, water isn’t available in some parts, the internet is slow and unreliable, our roads are broken, our schools are broken and education is not a national priority.

      Our elected officials have failed to establish a national agenda much less put forth a vision that we are aware of. We are not their slaves. We need a new form of governance. This system isn’t working.

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  3. ndp heckler says:

    And guess wha? This is the area where the minister of works gets all his votes. He goes down there every election and blows the house and them same set ah moomoos are the same ones that elect he everytime. They deserve it

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    • Zinc says:

      Not making light of the situation but it clearly said 75 people live there so that’s not where he gets all his votes.

      That said it’s shameful that those people that support Mark over and over have to deal with this crap and he is the Minister. Instead of all the NDP infighting those that ran away should have been champions of these issues for the people instead of their blind pursuit of power. So we have 4 parties but nothing to party about. Get it.

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  4. mark my words says:

    Action man will come running with his superman cape on and these fools will vote him right back in.

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  5. Political Observer (PO) says:

    This unhealthy sewage situation in the Crabbe Lot/Ghetto is something that may be the expectation in Third World and emerging countries. However, yhe e BVI views itself as a First World country but it does pass that test either from the 30’ or 30000’ level. The condition, operation and quality of infrastructure is a good measure of a country’s quality of life and standard of living, ie, sewage, water, electricity, roads, telecommunications, ports….etc. All of these services fall under the MCW so how do you rate his performance and success at delivering high quality services? A, B, C, D or F.

    Moreover, exposure to raw sewage poses a health risk to residents any and everywhere. If this issue were occuring in the Slaney/Macnamara, would there be the same level of foot dragging. No, WSD would have been on it like white on rice. Where you live, social status, influence, power, income…….etc should not be used a determinant in the level and quality of service received. All residents health should be treated with the urgency, resource allocation…….etc. All residents health matter. Is the voiceless getting shafted? So why is there one sewage truck for the whole island (Tortola)? WSD, wassup wid dat! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 10-4!

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  6. VICKIE says:

    THIS IS NOTHING NEW THIS SEWERAGE IS GOING ON FOR YEARS IN THE ROAD TOWN AREA.IT IS OUT OF CONTROL WE NEED THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE INCHARGE GET OUT THERE SOMETIMES TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON NOT SITTING DOWN IN AN OFFICE COLLECTING BIG BUCKS FOR NOTHING WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS. WHEN WILL ALL THE RESIDENTS COME TOGETHER AND SAY WE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS ARE WE GOING TO WAIT UNTIL WE RUN TO THE GROUND. I AM ASKING WHERE ARE THE POWER HUNGRY WHERE ARE THE ELECTED MEMBER FOR THE DISTRICT AND WHERE IS THE AT LARGE ELECTED MEMBERS.WE DO NOT NEED FREE DRINKS NOR A FREE PLATE OF FOOD WE NEED PEOPLE WHO CARES FOR PEOPLE AND THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

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  7. Dman says:

    Why can’t Mr. McMaster come to work every day and say “Who can I help today?” instead of “Where can I hide? ?

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    • He says.. says:

      He said he don’t know if these issues. But he knows about the work of that new organization set to be a second government! He is advocating for them to do all the work. Well he don’t need his job.

      This has been going on long time, anyone from the VI knows it’s been years now, the city has mismanaged the sewage issues there. If s historic. So how come he don’t know what’s going on just 2 mins down the road from his office. Buy 5 new trucks also.

      Save these people now, don’t wait for diseases to take of the people. Get real, and them fellas on the job need better gear to deal with the s**t. Overall and head gear.

    • WELL says:

      HE AND HIS BOSS GOES BY THE RICH WHO HAVE BUISNESS I CAN PROVE IT EVEN WHEN PEOPLE COMPLAIN TO THEM THEY REFUSE TO GO SEE THE PROBLEM. ONLY THE RICH WILL SOON BE ABLE TO SURVIVE THE PS IS A WASTE OF TAX PAYERS MONEY.

  8. UGH says:

    THAT IS DISGUSTING!!!! IS THIS HOW ARE REALLY ARE LETTING OUR PEOPLE LIVE?!?! COME ON MAN!!!!

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  9. OMFG says:

    Just look at where that manhole is! Really?

  10. Reality says:

    At least the No Direction Party has its priorities clear – it’s not the people but getting as many development deals that will ruin natures little secrets ASAP so they get their quick traitorous bucks….

  11. Gerance P. says:

    Sad. Very very sad.

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  12. MyArea2 says:

    Same thing being going up Horse Path months now. Who looking out for we.

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  13. Developer says:

    Best solution is to re-locate these people to low rent or subsidized housing somewhere else. Then bulldoze the area flat and lease the land out in lots for commercial development.

    This idea can be repeated in many other areas in Road Town.

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    • Tell the Truth says:

      That residential area is a mess. The government needs to get those people relocated and fix that area properly. Flood come them flood out. Sewerage come them flood out. Sun come them flood out. Moon come them flood out. Something with the land and the current government or incoming government can’t fix it until they do some serious work with the land.

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  14. Baugher's Bay says:

    The same problem exists at Baugher’s Bay – on the main road from ZBVI down to Lyndon’s Bar. Not even S–T this government can get right.

    • Stop says:

      Say one say two. Washing grease and oil down drains don’t help the situation. It is a partnership caring for the sewerage infrastructure. Stop washing these things down drains because the sewerage system cannot process them. When strict policies are laid down then it would still be that the government don’t care.

  15. Hit the fan says:

    Not much different than the situation in Cane Garden. Promises of a sewer fix but so far just a general or given to the thug bar. Good for tourism.

  16. Hit the fan says:

    Not much different than what tourists get to experience in Cane Garden. Lots of promises to fix the sewer but only thing Mitch got done was providing a generator to the thug bar. Needed that like a hole in the head,but it’s Tola politics at its best.

  17. Ausar says:

    Sadly, these conditions will continue to worsen as long as the unskilled and uncredentialled are continually allowed to “practice” infrastructural development!

    As far as Im concerned, BVIslanders are quite happy with the current state of affairs. After all, they allow their governments to reward infrastructural contracts to ineptitudes without a wimper because its about “we’ers” and not about efficiency and consummacy.

    And they wonder WHY the Kingdom has taken such a hardliner approach towards the state of affairs here. Y’all consummate hatred for outsiders and their skills for efficiency especially in infrastructural developments will continue to warrant such responses.

    So, let the “bawling” continue.

    One day, my people will learn!

  18. Hmmm says:

    It has been proven around the world that MEDICAL DOCTORS ARE NOT GOOD MANAGERS AND THEREFORE THE WORST POLITICIANS…. and still you voted them several times LOL.

  19. Jay Jay says:

    McMaster is never aware of any matter contacted on within the Ministry and when you try to follow-up your calls are ignored. He needs to become more involved or step down for greater effeincy in the related areas.

  20. Expat says:

    I really feel terrible about the situation. How can a government treat their own people like this.

  21. Fire says:

    “You can not even breathe good in here”

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