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.
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.
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